Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “It’s Official: Microsoft Acquires Skype for $8.5 Billion”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “It’s Official: Microsoft Acquires Skype for $8.5 Billion”


It’s Official: Microsoft Acquires Skype for $8.5 Billion

Posted: 10 May 2011 05:15 AM PDT


After rumors that first Facebook and then Microsoft were in talks to acquire Skype, the latter announced that it has acquired the VoIP giant for $8.5 billion in cash.

The deal, which was spearheaded by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer with assistance from Charles Songhurst, the company’s head of corporate corporate strategy, was completed Monday evening, AllThingsD claims.

The acquisition is an expensive one for Microsoft. Not only is it the largest price Microsoft has paid for a company in decades, Skype is not yet profitable. Despite revenues totaling $860 million last year and operating profits of $264 million, the company lost $6.9 million overall, according to documents filed with the SEC. And the company carries $686 million in debt.

Much of the company’s appeal rests in its largest user base of 663 million, 145 of which use Skype monthly, and 8.8 million of which are paying customers.

There is one clear set of winners here: Skype’s investors. A group including Silver Lake, Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Investment Board purchased the company from eBay for $2.75 billion in September 2009. Last August, Skype filed for an IPO, but put plans on hold after Tony Bates joined the company as CEO in October.

More About: facebook, microsoft, Skype, trending

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Skype Acquisition, Google Music & BitTorrent Lawsuit: This Morning’s Top Stories

Posted: 10 May 2011 05:11 AM PDT

Social Media News

Welcome to this morning’s edition of "First To Know," a series in which we keep you in the know on what's happening in the digital world. We're keeping our eyes on four particular stories of interest today.

Microsoft Acquires Skype

Microsoft has acquired Skype for $8.5 billion in cash, the latter announced this morning.

Google Might Announce Cloud Music Service Today

Google might announce its cloud music service, Google Music, at Google I/O today, reports suggest.

23,000 Targeted in BitTorrent Lawsuit

Some 23,000 U.S. citizens who downloaded an illegal copy of the Expendables via BitTorrent will soon receive notification that they are being sued in what could be the largest BitTorrent downloading case in U.S. history.

YouTube Expands On-Demand Video Rental Service

YouTube is adding 3,000 movies to its on-demand video rental service, pushing Google's video platform into direct competition with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Apple.

Further News

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, DNY59

More About: bittorent, first to know series, Google, microsoft, Skype, youtube

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In a World Without Tracking & Cookies, Can Online Commerce Succeed?

Posted: 09 May 2011 09:54 PM PDT


Tracking consumers’ behavior via cookies is creepy, and increasing numbers of the aforementioned consumers are getting fed up with it.

Legislators around the world are cracking down on tracking, as well, and many browsers are making it possible for people to simply opt out of tracking via cookies.

So how could online commerce, much of which is based on a cookie-fed understanding of browsing and purchase behavior, survive in a cookie-free world?

Fortunately, at least one startup in the online retail space is finding innovative and interesting ways to do business without violating users’ privacy and covertly tracking their every move.

Buyosphere is a startup we’ve covered in the past, back when it was called Shwowp. At the time, we appreciated how the startup was empowering shoppers by gathering their purchase data in one place — data that the consumer could then use when and how she or he chose. Incentives for social behaviors and influence among friends were baked in, too.

Now, the site has been gaining momentum with a slick redesign and a better brand name, and founder Tara Hunt is preaching the gospel truth about how her company is doing good business without resorting to cookie-based tracking.

A core tenet of Buyosphere is a C2B (that’s consumer-to-business) communication flow. In other words, rather than businesses silently gathering data on your behavior and pushing advertising propaganda at you in return, you get an opportunity to share your preferences with the companies directly. In a conversation this evening, Hunt explained how that works at her startup:

“At Buyosphere, you gather what you buy and own, and you make your own personal data package. Then you choose who to share it with. We build tools on top of your data for your own use — analytics, organization, notification, etc. — and in the future (and when the Do Not Track legislation heats up), we’ll be there to offer retailers a way to receive these personal data packages in a way that consumers control 100%.”

As the Do Not Track movement gains steam in the U.S. and anti-cookie laws take effect in other parts of the world, Hunt seems poised to meet privacy-hungry consumers halfway. And given the current public mood and government legislation, shouldn’t more sites be focusing on responsibly gathering and storing customer data without violating anyone’s privacy or selling out their own customers?

But there is a downside to running a consumer-centric retail company. “Well, we can’t promote what would make us the most money,” Hunt admitted. “We need to stay 100% vendor neutral.” But even with these self-imposed stipulations, Hunt says, “I think we can really help find cool stuff locally and at the edge of the web for people.”

Hunt at TEDxConcordia

Hunt is adamant about consumers’ being able to use their own data for their own purposes. As a result, the startup takes a strong stance on data portability, too.

Buyosphere’s site states that when consumers control how data is collected and own their own data, they can (and will) share it with the companies they want to have insight about them. The brands, in turn, get deeper understanding of their target customers and can plan accordingly.

But these principles go far beyond what Hunt is trying to do with Buyosphere. “I want to see a huge shift in the perspective of data ownership; we are only looking at a slice of the pie,” she said.

“Think health data. Think financial data. … The options fundamentally open up when consumers own their own data. It behooves everyone.”

Isn’t that vision a bit idealistic, we asked? “Of course I’m idealistic,” Hunt responded. “I’m an entrepreneur.”

Image of Ms. Hunt courtesy of Flickr, Eva Blue
Top image courtesy of iStockphoto, hidesy

More About: buyosphere, do not track, shwowp, tara hunt

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iPhone Users: Type Once & Search Everywhere With Search Ninja

Posted: 09 May 2011 08:47 PM PDT


The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: Search Ninja

Quick Pitch: Search Ninja makes search easier and faster on the iPhone and iPod touch.

Genius Idea: Swipe through search results from search engines, reference sites and social media services.


One week-old Search Ninja is an iPhone app [iTunes link] that’s all about fast and easy mobile search. The app offers users a query once, search everywhere experience that is expedient, intuitive and more practical than performing the same search queries across multiple sites or applications.

Search Ninja is specifically designed for “anyone who searches the web frequently on the iPhone,” developer Ankit Ahuja says, indicating that the app’s most remarkable feature is its ability to save users seconds as they search.

“You save a lot of time even if you only want to search Google,” he says. “The more advanced users can customize this by adding custom search engines for the less popular services.”

Fire up the $0.99 application and you’ll see a simple search page where you can type in your query; Search Ninja displays Google search suggestions as you type. Once you enter your query, you can simply swipe through results from default search engines or call up the search engine menu bar to navigate to a particular service.

Search Ninja optionally saves your search history and groups queries by day. It also lets you star search results from a single search engine to quickly revisit results at a later time.

Search Ninja’s selection of search engines includes Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Amazon, eBay, Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha and Google Places, among others.

The app hides some extra goodies that make the experience all the more flavorful. Users can horizontally swipe to erase saved or past search queries, edit the default search engines displayed in the menu bar (on the home screen, select “…” from the top navigation and hit the “Settings” button) and add in extra search engines of their choosing.

Ahuja says he plans to improve the search history’s appearance and add a central repository of custom search engines, as suggested by users, in future application updates.

Ten Mashable readers can grab the new app free of charge by using one of the following promo codes: YKMJ4PN9E3P6, 3KWTM4N3XFPE, HMAELR7FHRXF, ALWHHFNLJKPK, 439AMHYWFTAH, R4X3K67973HE, EJT3XFHWX3MF, FYAR9JMMWETJ, ETYRT774PPTT, JNXJ6T9WKN4.


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, iphone app, Search, Search Ninja, spark-of-genius

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Microsoft, Not Facebook, Might Actually Buy Skype [REPORT]

Posted: 09 May 2011 07:34 PM PDT


Rumors are swirling about the acquisition of VoIP giant Skype, and reliable reports are now pointing to Microsoft as Skype’s possible new owner.

Four days ago, we heard that Facebook was reportedly offering between $3 and $4 billion to acquire Skype or (perhaps more plausible for a startup with $2 billion in annual revenue) that Facebook might simply construct some sort of joint venture with Skype.

Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting Microsoft is paying in the neighborhood of $7 billion to buy Skype. The Journal‘s unnamed sources “close to the matter” indicated that talks were ongoing as of Monday evening but that an announcement could be made as soon as Tuesday.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on the possibility or proof of a Skype acquisition. This series of rumors could indicate a bidding war, in which case the outcome won’t be entirely certain until reps confirm or deny a deal — and none of the aforementioned companies are ready to talk just yet.

More About: acquisition, facebook, microsoft, Skype, telephony, voip

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Time to Tap In: Foursquare Testing NFC At Google Conference

Posted: 09 May 2011 05:36 PM PDT


Foursquare and Google are joining forces to enable a trial of Foursquare checkins via near field communication (NFC).

The test starts Tuesday at Google I/O, the annual developer conference in San Francisco. Foursquare and Google have outfitted the Moscone conference center with NFC markers at various check points. Foursquare users can tap their devices to the markers, so long as they have an NFC-enabled device, to check in to the location and earn a special Google I/O badge.

The “tap in” test run marks the first real-world consumer implementation of Foursquare’s NFC check in capabilities aside from internal tests at its New York headquarters. Tap in support was included in the meaty Foursquare 3.0 release back in March of this year.

The team-up makes sense for both companies. NFC chips are expected to usher in a new era of location-based apps and services, and Google has long been positioning itself as an advocate of the technology, and the newest Android devices are already shipping with NFC chips.

For Foursquare, the conference offers exposure to a large pool of developers who may be inspired by the implementation — and go on to build third-party apps that beef up the Foursquare ecosystem.

“NFC is, obviously, a long way from being available everywhere and in all phones,” reads a Foursquare update on the news, “but we're excited by some of the potential.”

Those without an NFC-enabled device can also choose to scan QR Codes on posters to check in.

More About: checkins, foursquare, Google, google io, nfc, technology

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For Top News Sites, Facebook Drives More Traffic Than Twitter [STATS]

Posted: 09 May 2011 04:32 PM PDT


Facebook is a more valuable source of traffic to top news sites than Twitter, according a Pew Research Center study released Monday.

The study looked at Nielsen data from the 25 news websites with the highest number of unique monthly visitors. About 35% to 40% of traffic to the sites came from links on other sites, as opposed to readers typing in a URL directly or clicking to another page on the same site.

Unsurprisingly, Google dominated this referral traffic. On average, the company’s search and news products accounted for about 30% of all clicks. But Facebook also referred a significant percentage of each site’s audience.

The Huffington Post was boosted the most by Facebook referrals, which accounted for 8% of its unique visitors. The New York Times derived 6% of its traffic from the social network.

“These percentages represent only a fraction of the traffic coming from Google,” says the study. “But they make Facebook an influential and probably growing force. As Nielsen's numbers show, few domains affect audiences this much.”

For all its success at breaking news, Twitter did not have the same effect. The site with the highest percentage of traffic from Twitter, The Los Angeles Times, could only credit the micro-blogging platform with 3.53% of its traffic. Twitter referred a much smaller percentage of traffic to other sites in the study.

Part of the discrepancy between Facebook and Twitter referrals is their disparate user bases. Facebook has more than 500 million users while Twitter has 200 million accounts — many of them inactive.

But referral clout is not just a question of user numbers. The Drudge Report, a veteran news aggregation site, was the second or third ranked referral site to more than half of the sites studied. For example, the Drudge Report provided more than 30% of traffic to British newspaper The Daily Mail, 19% of traffic to the New York Post, 15% to The Washington Post, and 11% to the Boston Globe.

More About: Drudge Report, facebook, Nielsen, Pew, twitter

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No Printer Required: First Paperless Daily Deal Service Launches

Posted: 09 May 2011 03:35 PM PDT


Gaming platform SCVNGR has teamed up with American Express and Levi’s to create the first paperless daily deal redemption system.

If you’ve ever purchased a Groupon or LivingSocial daily deal, you’ve probably gone through the awkward process of redeeming your coupon. You have to print out the daily deal, remember to bring the printout with you and give it to the cashier, who may or may not be trained on how to redeem it. Plus, pulling out a coupon isn’t necessarily something you want to do on a date.

SCVNGR and American Express believe that they have found the solution. Starting today, SCVNGR’s daily deal platform LevelUp now features an option to sync your LevelUp account to your AmEx card. Once synced, all you need to do to redeem the daily deals you purchase through LevelUp is swipe your card. There’s no need to bring a coupon with you.

You don’t even have to tell the cashier that you bought a daily deal coupon. AmEx automatically tracks and credits your deal. AmEx Vice President of Gobal Marketing Capabilities David Wolf says the LevelUp integration is powered by AmEx’s Smart Offer Engine, the same platform that powered Foursquare’s “spend $5, save $5″ pilot program at SXSW.

AmEx links to LevelUp’s APIs so that you don’t have to think about redeeming your daily deal. It’s automatically done for you when you swipe your card at the store.

The pilot program launches today in San Francisco with Levi’s. Users that purchase daily deals from Levi’s through LevelUp will automatically get their discounts when they use their AmEx card at the Levi’s store in Union Square.

LevelUp differs from Groupon, LivingSocial and other daily deal sites through its use of game mechanics to increase customer loyalty. Every time you purchase and use a daily deal on LevelUp, you have the option to buy another daily deal from the same brand. In the case of Levi’s, level one gets you $10 of merchandise for $20, level two gets you $10 of merchandise for $30 and level three gets you $10 of merchandise for $50.

What do you think of SCVNGR and AmEx’s approach to daily deals? Do paperless daily deals make you more likely to buy in?

Lead image courtesy of Flickr, flickrohit

More About: american express, amex, daily deals, geosocial, Gorupon, levelup, levis, Mobile 2.0, scvngr, TheLevelUp

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From Street Performer to Stage Star: Andy Grammer Premieres Live Take on “Lunatic” [VIDEO]

Posted: 09 May 2011 03:12 PM PDT


Each Monday, Mashable highlights an exclusive new video or song. Check out all our Music Monday picks.

Andy Grammer used to arrive on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica at 8 a.m. every day, beach chair and CDs in tow, to stake out the perfect spot to perform. Now he’s playing to sold-out crowds.

This video depicts one of those shows, a gig at the Troubadour in Hollywood where Grammer performed the song “Lunatic”. The track is on his debut album, which hits in June.

“‘Lunatic’ was a song that I wrote out on the Third Street Promenade,” Grammer says. “I was sitting in a beach chair on a Friday, like a work day, questioning myself, ‘Am I insane? Sitting outside in a beach chair, hoping with no reason? Or is it a valid thing that I’m doing?’ So I got my guitar and started to write.” The song is an ode to everyone who has ever questioned whether their dreams were, well, lunacy or not.

Grammer worked as a street performer, as well as on the college circuit, for three years before “making it,” so to speak. He has a record contract on S-Curve, and he won an MTV OMA “Most Innovative Music Video Award” for “Keep Your Head Up,” a choose-you-own-adventure mini flick.

While Grammer enjoys performing in front of real fans instead of of Santa Monica seagulls, he still fondly recalls his busking career. “You’re having an impromptu concert on a Friday night and the sun is setting — there’s nothing better than that,” he says.

More About: andy-grammer, music, music monday, video

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Get Your 15 Seconds of Fame With Viddy, An Instagram For Video

Posted: 09 May 2011 02:33 PM PDT


Ever snapped a pic with Instagram and wished that the ’70s-esque world on your screen had a little more motion? Well, as the cliche goes, there’s an iPhone app for that: Viddy.

Back in January, our own Christina Warren discussed how apps like Instagram and PicPlz exploded in 2010. “I expect mobile video to get bigger and better in 2011,” she predicted.

We’ve already seen the arrival of SocialCam, a video-sharing app from the guys at Justin.tv — and we expect to see a strong showing from Viddy [iTunes link], which lets you share 15-second slices of your life.

Founded by JJ Aguhob and Brett O'Brien, Viddy has garnered $1.6 million in funding from Battery Ventures, Bessemer Ventures and Qualcomm. Angel investors included some early team members from YouTube.

If you can use Instagram, Viddy should be a snap to navigate. Simply create an account, connect with friends via Twitter, Facebook and your phone’s address book, and start shooting. Click the “Share” button in the middle of the navigation panel to pull up a video from your gallery or to shoot a new one. Trim the clip as you see fit using a film strip timeline at the top of the screen (as in iMovie).

After you finish trimming, you can apply effects using what the Viddy team calls “production packages.” These are like Instagram’s color treatment filters, except with music and transitions. You can choose how much the film is treated by using a slide bar.

After choosing your package, you can add a title, location and tags, and share the video on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Foursquare and Tumblr functionality is coming soon.

As in Instagram, users also have a feed of other users’ activities, the ability to comment on and like posts, and an option to see what videos are trending or popular.

According to Brett O'Brien, the app has seen a lot of activity in the month it’s been available — close to 200,000 downloads. “It’s a great way for people who enjoy lifecasting to express themselves through video,” he says.

O’Brien also tells us that more production packs will be available soon, and that an iPad app that will include even deeper editing abilities is in the works . (Android, Blackberry, etc are also on the way.)

Of course, Viddy isn’t the only mobile app with quirky video editing capabilities — check out CameraFX for Video [iTunes link] and 8mm Vintage Camera [iTunes link] — but it is unique in that it really focuses on social sharing in a way that goes beyond the limited editing abilities of apps like Path and Color.

We could really see apps like this taking off — especially given the number of brands that have embraced Instagram already.

What do you think? Will you download Viddy? Let us know in the comments.

More About: ipad, iphone, photo sharing, startup, viddy

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50 Years After TV Wasteland Speech, Has Programming Improved? [POLL]

Posted: 09 May 2011 02:13 PM PDT


Fifty years ago today, on May 9, 1961, U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton N. Minow gave a speech at the National Association of Broadcasters where he referred to the television landscape as a “vast wasteland.”

The speech, titled “Television and the Public Interest,” is frequently cited as one of the best American speeches in the 20th century. In 2007, the speech was named number 22 in “The Best of Vital Speeches of the Day: 25 Speeches That Changed Our World.” [PDF]

You can read and listen to the speech here. It’s truly a worthwhile experience. Listening to the speech for the first time in at least five years, I was struck by how much of what Minow said in 1961 is still applicable today.

The frequently quoted “vast wasteland” line is from this section:

“When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better.

“But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.

“You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endlessly commercials, many screaming, cajoling and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you’ll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few. And if you think I exaggerate, I only ask you to try it.”

Looking at the list of television shows from the 1960 – 1961 television season, we wanted to compare the programming lineup from the days of three networks (no cable) and a 7:00 p.m. primetime to today.

Using the 1960 to 1961 TV ratings, the top programs in the U.S. 50 years ago included:

  • Gunsmoke
  • Wagon Train
  • Have Gun Will Travel
  • The Andy Griffith Show
  • The Real McCoys
  • Rawhide
  • Candid Camera
  • The Untouchables
  • The Price is Right
  • The Jack Benny Show

In 2011, the top 10 primetime programs in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic for the week ending May 1, 2011 include:

  • American Idol (Wednesday)
  • American Idol (Thursday)
  • VOICE
  • Dancing with the Stars
  • The Office
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Dancing with the Stars (Results)
  • Glee
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Survivor: Redemption Island

Fifty years later, we want to ask, has network television improved? What era had the more vast wasteland, 1961 or 2011? Vote in our poll and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Duss

More About: newton minow, television, tv, tv wasteland

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60+ Upcoming Social Media & Tech Events

Posted: 09 May 2011 02:02 PM PDT

social_media_events_guide1

Every week, Mashable puts together a calendar of upcoming social media and web events, parties and conferences.

Here are some tips on how to network, share your information and promote your event using social media:

Mashable’s Weekly Social Media and Marketing Event Guide is proudly supported by Eventbrite, the Web’s Event Marketplace.



May 9-11, 2001, Chicago, IL: School of WOM is the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s annual spring conference. School of WOM will provide marketers with in-depth practical knowledge on the arts and sciences of Word of Mouth and Social Media marketing. School of WOM attendees learn the techniques, methods, and processes that are being implemented into your business practices today that they can bring back and implement tomorrow. At School of WOM, you’ll learn to stay ahead of the competition and ensure your company remains talkable for all the right reasons. Go to www.womma.org for more information. Register and use code the promo code WOMMASOWMASH when registering for the event.


May 9-11, 2011, Minneapolis, MN: Content strategy is the next big thing. Is it your thing, too? Whether you’re a content strategy veteran or curious about where to start, Confab: The Content Strategy Conference is for you. Real-world case studies from major companies like Disney, eBay, Facebook and Merck. Hands-on workshops. All the experts. Mix and mingle with other content strategists. Share your insights. Hear the insights of others. Plus, there will be some fantastic parties. Get ahead of the curve in your business and career … come to Confab: The Content Strategy Conference. Register with the promo code MASHABLE and save $150.


May 9, 2011, San Francisco, CA: The SF MusicTech Summit brings together 800+ visionaries in the music and technology space, along with the brightest developers, entrepreneurs, investors, musicians, service providers, and journalists who work with them at the convergence of culture and commerce. We meet to discuss the evolving music/business/technology ecosystem in a proactive environment. Mashable readers can receive an exclusive 10% discount when they register and use the promo code Mashable. For more information and to register, please visit http://sfmusictech.com.


May 9, 2011, New York, NY: TEDxEast, the largest independently organized TEDx event in NYC is now accepting applications for its next day-long conference themed "Tinker, Noodle, Obsess," to be held at The Times Center in the NY Times building. An inspiring group of influential thoughts leaders and innovators will explore the things that capture our attention and get stuck in our heads or under our skin. The speakers come from diverse backgrounds, each representing the point of view of someone who "tinkers," "noodles" or "obsesses" with a particular topic or idea. Pre-event parties and networking opportunities are part of registration. For more information and to register, please click here.


May 10-12, 2011, London, UK: Internet World 2011 is the industry event for digital marketing and online business. With unrivalled Keynotes, including speakers from Facebook, Google, Nike, eBay and many more, it's the only place to get exclusive insight… all for free! With over 300 solution providers and more than 100 seminars, Internet World attracts over 12,000 visitors, combining five shows in one event for your one-stop-shop covering all things new media. Register now to help formulate the future digital agenda.


May 10-11, 2011, Hollywood, FL: Following an incredible inaugural year in 2010, the annual Social Media Customer Response Summit is back with more excitement and even better sessions addressing the industry's key issues. This year’s theme will focus on ideas surrounding how corporate America is responding to emerging ‘Customer Response’ channels through social media, web 2.0, video streaming and mobile applications. During this two-day seminar, attendees will be able to listen, learn and collaborate with prominent industry leaders such as Bob Simmonds of Disney, David Thornton of Bank of America, Robert Lamb of AT&T, and Jim Moloney of General Motors on the challenges/benefits with using an ‘interactive social media customer response strategy,’ and what technological developments will continue to affect the industry, plus much more. C-Level executives interested in attending can find more information about the Summit’s Agenda & Registration at customerresponsesummit.com.


May 11-12, 2011, Amsterdam: iStrategy is an inspirational, 2-day, digital media conference for senior executives who believe that the success of their business requires a sound digital strategy. iStrategy has recruited keynote speakers, panelists, workshop facilitators and attendees with expertise in the online channels that drive successful outcomes and tools that provide ongoing measurement including: Social Media, Mobile Marketing and Applications, Display Advertising, SEO/SEM, Email Marketing, Database Marketing, Web Analytics, E-commerce and Content Strategy. Register with the promo code MASHEU10 to receive a 10% discount.


May 12-14, 2011, Chicago, IL: unGeeked Elite Retreats brings together 24 speakers over the course of three days. The format is “open discussion”. The topics focus on enhancing, positioning and leveraging both the internal and external brand. PPTs and Prezi’s are strongly discouraged and instead, on-going and intimate discussions among keynotes, regional speakers and attendees are encouraged. Speakers include: Amanda Hite, Jason Falls, Oliver Blanchard, Spike Jones, and Anita Campbell. Register with the promo code unGeekedChicago and save 5% off regular ticket price. Tickets includes the latest book from Olivier Blanchard and entry into the Chris Brogan Roast.


May 12-14, 2011, Chicago, IL: unGeeked Elite Retreats will be held at the SYNCUBATOR and brings together 24 speakers over the course of three days. The format is styled as an “open discussion” with topics centered around enhancing, positioning and leveraging boththe internal and external brand. PPTs and Prezi’s are strongly discouraged and instead, on-going and intimate discussions among keynotes, regional speakers and attendees are encouraged. Speakers include Julian Smith, Jason Falls, Spike Jones, Amanda Hite and more. Register with promo code unGeekedChi and save 5% off regular ticket price.


May 12-13, 2011, Seattle, WA: As companies like Netflix, Zynga, AT&T and Disney Gaming start embracing HTML5 for their native and web based games and apps on platforms as diverse as Playstation, iOS and Google TV, then whether you’re a web, mobile, or casual game developer, it’s time to start taking HTML5 seriously. This is what Unplugged is all about. So, to keep up to date with this increasingly indispensable technology, come to Seattle in May, and learn from world leading experts in mobile and app design and development. Mashable readers can save $100 when registering with the promo code Mashable – just $695 before April 31st!


May 16-19, 2011, Prague, Czech Republic: The TERENA Networking Conference (TNC) is the largest and most prestigious European research networking conference – over 500 participants, including decision makers, networking specialists and managers from all major European networking and research organisations, universities, worldwide sister institutions and industry representatives attend. Through keynote speeches by renowned specialists and many parallel sessions, TNC presents an overview of the latest developments in research networking, both in the technical field and in the areas of application and management. For more information, click here.


May 16-18, 2011, London, UK: The Future of Web Design (FOWD) hits London again this May! Following on from the success of last year, we’re bringing you 3 full days of essential web learning: a day of in-depth workshops, followed up by a two day conference, covering all of the hottest topics across two stages. Big names, rising stars, great networking opportunities and some fabulous catering thrown in for good measure. Hope you can join us!


May 16-17, 2011, Atlanta, GA: Digital Summit 2011 will feature over 100 speakers and an audience of over 1,000 internet execs, entrepreneurs and senior marketers. Join dozens of industry leaders and innovators in the conversation on topics such as Social Media, Mobile, Cloud Computing, Online Advertising, Analytics, Search, Video, Ecommerce and more. Top brands and thought leaders converge on one of America’s Most Wired Cities. Register and use the promo code MASH for 20% off.


May 17-19, 2011, Boston, MA: In the ever changing world of social media and mobile marketing organizations are finding it difficult to navigate the complicated legal waters. At the 2011 Social Media Legal Risks and Strategies Summit, attendee's will have the opportunity to learn practical strategies for staying compliant with regulations and safeguarding against legal risks. During this 3 day summit attendee's will learn, first hand, from top legal minds from such brands as, The Walt Disney Company, General Mills, General Electric and The Better Business Bureau. Register and use the promo code MikeSM to receive a discount. http://socialmedialegalrisks.com


May 17-19, 2011, London, UK: The World E-Reading Congress brings together digital and print publishers with e-reading platforms and device manufacturers to discuss the business models and opportunities provided by the growth of the e-reading industry. Publishers must be prepared for this dramatic industry upheaval. They must learn how to embrace this disruptive technology and the World E-Reading Congress will enable them to discover how they can profit from the E-Reading revolution. Visit our website for more information and register before January to save 10%!


May 17-18, 2011, Sydney, Australia: With an estimated 200,000 loyalty programs currently operating in Australia, it is vital for businesses to understand how to make their brand stand out from the crowd. More than ever, your success hinges on your ability to gain a greater understanding of your customers’ wants and needs.Traditional modes of marketing have evolved and it is necessary to embrace more personalised communications across numerous channels. The Customer Loyalty 2011 Conference is a case-study driven program that will explore different strategies to add the value that your customers want from your loyalty initiative. It will discuss evolving definitions of best practice in loyalty marketing and help you make your mark in this evolving multichannel landscape. Register with the promo code CC*MASHABLE and save 10%!


May 18-19, 2011, Boston, MA: Text analytics has grown from an interesting but little known software application into an invaluable commercial tool being used by businesses worldwide. Forward thinking executives across a myriad of industries are using text analytics solutions to increase efficiency and unlock essential information that they never had access to before. Whether you are a software developer, an experienced analytics user, or new to the text analytics industry, the Text Analytics Summit is the only place to get the information that you need to stay ahead of the competition and profit from text mining. Register and use the promo code mashable to save 10%.


May 18, 2011, London, UK: The International Search Summit is partnering with SMX to run its global search and social media program at SMX Advanced in London. Focusing specifically on international and multilingual topics, the summit will run on 18th May and give delegates the opportunity to attend both events in just one trip and on one pass. Topics at the Summit will include international link building, managing global content, international SEO case studies and emerging markers. The agenda will be regularly updated with confirmed speakers. Combo or Summit only tickets are available. Early Bird rates apply and Mashable readers can get a 15% discount on the booking price with the discount code MASHABLE011. For more information and to register, please click here.


May 19-20, 2011, Miami, FL: Following the success of the 2010 edition, LBS LATAM returns in 2011 to continue the discussions and thought provoking market topics of interest. Responding to industry demands, the conference will be held for two days in Miami, Florida. For more information, please click here.


May 20-22, 2011, Ft. Lauderdale, FL: SheCon’s 2011 New Media Expo is the industry’s first free, three-day social media event that is bringing together some of the industry’s most renowned experts to condense a four-year journalism school experience into three days of new media sessions, with sessions and panels ranging from general to specific, niche market discussions. Combined with the educational sessions, the expo will bring together a diverse group of exhibitors that will be focusing on a brand integration, rather than forced brand interaction, concept for engaging and building relationships with attendees.


May 23-24, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Produced by Mediabistro and SocialTimes, Socialize Media Optimization Conference (SMOC) is a two-day event dedicated to social media optimization and social advertising. Boost search engine visibility, increase linkability, and fuel your readers' desire to share your content. Industry leaders will also show you how to get results whenadvertising on the social web in terms of strategy, targeting, privacy, and metrics. Our experts include Brian Solis (author, Engage), Rohit Bhargava (SVP, Digital, Strategy & Planning Group), Gary Ware (Covario), and many more. Register and use the promo code MASH to save 15%.


May 23, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Hosted by Our Social Times, Social Media Marketing & Monitoring 2011 will bring together leading marketing and PR experts, brands, agencies and journalists for an intensive one-day conference. Following this sell-out event last year, join us for an update on the latest strategies, tools and techniques in social media marketing. Topics include: community management; blogger outreach; influencer analysis and engagement; Twitter marketing; geo-location marketing; social gaming; social media monitoring and Social CRM. Register and use the promo code Mash1 to save 10%.


May 24-26, 2011, New York, NY: BlogWorld & New Media Expo is the first and only industry-wide conference, tradeshow and media event dedicated to blogging, podcasting, social media, social networking, online video, music, Internet TV and radio. BlogWorld conference attendees enjoy more than 120 cutting-edge educational sessions presented by industry leaders, while New Media Expo provides the only industry-wide new media marketplace for networking, online business and marketing resources. Social Media Business Summit, exclusive to BlogWorld, is the world's largest social media business conference where business owners, marketing executives and global brands learn strategies, tools and technologies to grow their businesses with social media. Register at blogworldexpo.com with the promo code MASH20 to save 20% off the ticket price!


May 24-26, 2011, San Francisco, CA: All About the Cloud — Save $100 with the promo code PRMMASH to attend the software industry's leading ISV conference on Cloud Computing. (Note: discount valid off the individual non-member rate only and does apply to current attendees.) You'll join an anticipated audience of more than 500 senior executives from ISVs, resellers, and platform / technology providers, as well as the industry's leading analysts, bankers, venture capitalists and the media. Key networking events include: a Golf Tournament, a Speed Networking Event, a Mardi Gras-themed Welcome Reception and an offsite Networking Reception featuring the Microsoft Rock Band Challenge. For details, including registration information, please visit AllAbouttheCloud.net.


May 24-26 2011, Gateshead, UK: Thinking Digital is an annual conference where the world’s greatest thinkers and innovators discuss the latest ideas, innovations and technologies. The conference provides an experience like no other, stimulating new thinking and new ideas. It's about what you'll learn, and who you'll meet. Our eclectic schedule means you'll listen to world-class authorities, meet amazing people, be entertained and outrageously inspired! When you leave Thinking Digital you'll know about things that you previously didn't even realise existed and have become part of our unique community. Register with the promo code TDCMASH and save 10%.


May 25-27, 2011, Portland, OR: WebVisions explores the future of web design, technology, user experience and business strategy in a punchy, new format! The all-star lineup of speakers includes author Douglas Rushkoff, design strategist David Armano, mobile researcher Rachel Hinman, usability expert Jared Spool, design ethnographer Kelly Goto and many more. Take advantage of package deals for workshops and conference passes, discounts on hotels, and networking events and after hour parties. Register here and save up to 30% off the Standard Admission rates! rates.


May 25, 2011, London, UK: The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards aim to showcase genuine innovation in corporate sustainability and reward those who take sustainability to the very heart of their business. Enter the awards today at guardian.co.uk/gsb-awards to get the recognition you deserve. Winners will be invited to a ceremony held in London in May and will feature in a supplement published on guardian.co.uk. All entries meeting the criteria will be added to the new Guardian Sustainable Business best practice exchange – an online database allowing sustainability professionals to share their learning. Enter before February 7th at guardian.co.uk/gsb-awards.


May 29-30, 2011, Dubai, UAE: Social Media Marketing – The Way Forward – It is undeniable that social media has fundamentally transformed and evolved the architecture of business, communications, and the dissemination of information and influence. In July 2010, Facebook announced it had over 500 million users worldwide,of which at least 15 million were in Middle East.Survey findings also indicated that one out of five Facebook users is from Asia or Middle East. Participants at this two-day conference will be exposed to the intricacies of corporate social media strategies tailored for your industry. Participants would gain insights to maximizing the usage of social and establishing and maintaining a good relationship with consumers, thus effectively introducing their brands online and engaging long-term relationship with the audience. For more information, please click here.


June 3-4, 2011, Victoria, BC, Canada: Last year’s event was the largest social media event in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. This year’s Social Media Camp will feature more time, more sessions, more speakers, more exhibitors and more sunshine! This year’s keynote speakers are the critically acclaimed authors of “The Now Revolution”, Jay Baer and Amber Naslund. Whether you are an avid Facebook user, interested in learning about Twitter, or you're trying to grow your business by leveraging social media tools – there is something for everyone at this event! Register and use the promo code MASHABLE to save $50!


June 5-9, 2011, San Francisco, CA: The 2011 Semantic Technology Conference (SemTech) is the world's largest educational conference for the community of executives, technologists, researchers, investors and customers who are involved with semantic technologies. The SemTech conference draws together more than 1,000 forward-thinking technology and business leaders from around the world, representing the entire marketplace of vendors, developers, researchers, start-ups, investors and customers. SemTech 2011 features five days of presentations, panels, tutorials, announcements, new company/product launches, and conversations. It’s a place for new learning, professional networking, and business development. For details and registration, visit the site. Register and use the promo code MASH to save 15%.!


June 6-8, 2011, Boston, MA: The Art & Science of Integrating Traditional & Social Media Marketing – Measure Up, is the world's most comprehensive cross-dimensional view of marketing measurement best practices. With a focus on return on investment (ROI) as it relates to the integration of traditional, online and mobile activities; specifically, social media, this event explores analytics across the entire marketing mix and incorporates those results into marketing strategies and tactics to drive higher revenue, profit and brand share. Register and use the promo code XU2308MASH and save 10%!


June 6, 2011, New York, NY: It’s time to make plans for Realtime NY 11, a full-day immersion entirely about business on the mobile, social and realtime web. Learn how innovative executives from brands like McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Delta, Citibank, IBM, and the NHL are using realtime tools to listen and respond to customers, create new opportunities and build bottom-line value. Realtime, mobile and social technologies fundamentally change how consumers and businesses interact. At The Realtime Conference you’ll see real case studies about real brands and meet the social media business pioneers who are driving real value. 10 hours of hardcore learning and networking. Plus wi-fi, power, breakfast, lunch and cocktails. Register with the promo code MASHABLE to save 20%


June 6-7,2011, New York, NY: Federated Media presents The Conversational Marketing Summit: Leading agencies, marketers, platforms and entrepreneurs come together for our industry’s most rigorous and thought-provoking annual 2-day gathering, the Conversational Marketing Summit, to benefit from a discussion about what we've learned so far and get a jump on what the future has to offer. We aim to bridge the innovations of the internet with the practice of marketing.  Please join us More information and registration details at http://www.federatedmedia.net/events – Register with promo code CmMash to save 15%!


June 7-8, 2011, Munich, Germany: a4uexpo Europe is the largest pan European Affiliate and Performance Marketing Conference. With over 1000 delegates, a diverse conference programme, a focus on quality, knowledge transfer and unparalleled networking opportunities with delegates and key industry figures from around the world, a4uexpo Europe is a must attend educational and networking event. Whether a new or established affiliate, agency, entrepreneur, search specialist, merchant or network – a4uexpo is the conference for those serious about making an impact in Affiliate and Performance Marketing. Register with the promo code MASHABLE25 and save €25 on a full conference pass for a4uexpo Europe.


June 7-8, 2011, Seattle, WA: Join the most accomplished search marketers in the world – Search Marketing Expo – SMX Advanced Seattle. Check out the full agenda, featuring two days of experts-only sessions, keynotes and the highest-level networking anywhere. Don't wait – SMX Advanced has sold out 4 years running. Register with partner code smx100mashable and you'll save $100 and secure your spot.


June 8, 2011, Singapore: With the phenomenal growth of apps worldwide, Asia is the next big market to watch out for. Planet of the Apps Asia is the leading event dedicated to mobile applications in Asia. The two day conference plus a dedicated masterclass day brings together the mobile application ecosystem in one location. The event will shine on a light on the latest innovations and showcase the latest solutions in the world of mobile applications. Be part of this definitive event and network with professionals from all around the globe.


June 14, 2011, London, UK: 20 social media experts will be speaking at the Social Media Results Conference – From Engagement To ROI. Procter & Gamble, Barclaycard, Nokia, Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd, MTV Networks UK & Ireland, Mothercare, Lonely Planet, American Airlines, Kodak Ltd, Comic Relief, Vue Entertainment, Cisco Europe, Phones 4u Limited and many more will be discussing their real-world, actionable social media insights on how to drive the customer journey with consistently genuine interaction and fully integrated, targeted social media campaigns. Click here to download/view the conference program.


June 15-18, 2011, Nairobi, Kenya: The spotlight in AfriTech Kenya 2011 will be on "Brand building using a digital platform". It’s projected to be the largest gathering of digital media gurus and industry shapers in the African continent. The conference will be held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) on June 15-18, 2011. Outstanding business luminaries, philanthropists, government decision-makers and investors will be participating during this four day historic summit. For more information and to register, please visit afri-tech.com.


June 15-16, 2011, New York, NY: “Exploring the State of NOW” – The 140 Characters Conference: New York City (#140conf) will be taking place June 15-16, 2011 at the 92nd Street Y, where we will continue to explore the effects of the real-time web on both business and on people. This event is expected to be the largest worldwide gathering of people interested in the effects of the real-time Internet on both business and "we" the people. #140conf exposes you to the power the Internet has to disrupt businesses, change lives and create serendipity. You will leave with a fresh outlook on how the real time web can be used in your business or personal life to actually do something meaningful. Register TODAY and take advantage of the "Early Bird" prices.


June 16, 2011, London, UK: The Augmented Reality Summit is designed to explore this new dynamic reality and provide delegates with the perfect opportunity to uncover Augmented Reality in full and explore the opportunity's AR brings any brand or company. The AR Summit is positioned at the forefront of this exciting continually developing new industry. Whether you are a Brand, Advertiser or Agency, Technology provider or Developer looking to meet key industry figures, keep up with the latest developments, technology's & tools or simply to network with other from the world of AR – Register and use the promo code ARMASH to save 25%!


June 20-21, New York, NY: At the new ALL FOR ONE Marketing Show presented by DM Days, you'll learn how Domino's, FreshDirect, Grey New York and other top companies maximize ROI by leveraging customer insight and data to successfully integrate marketing channels. You'll walk away with concrete examples of successful campaigns from marketing experts and thought leaders. Register with the promo code DM730 and save $200!


June 20, 2011, New York, NY: Games for Change is the leading global advocate for supporting and making games for social impact. The Games for Change Festival is the largest gaming event in New York City and the only international event uniting "games for change" creators, the public, civil society, academia, the gaming industry and media. Register before April 15th and save 30%!


June 21-22, 2011, New York, NY: The Second Annual Corporate Social Media Summit is 'the' event for big business using social media. This year we have speakers from Dell, Best Buy, Kodak, Coca-Cola, Southwest Airlines and many more. They will share best practice to help your company leverage the power of social media for better marketing, customer engagement and enhance profitability. The conference is designed for corporates like you – and our agenda is based on three months of research with your peers. Download a brochure here for all the info you need. Register and use the promo code MASH11 to save 10%.


June 21-22, 2011, Los Angeles, CA: Digital Content Monitization West 2011 is a unique opportunity to find out how to drive revenue and profitability from different content and formats across a wide variety of channels. 60+ senior level speakers from will help you sort out the best short and medium term strategies for delivering revenue through digital content. With its focus on west coast industries, you’ll dig deep into how the film, music and games sectors are driving new sources of revenue. Plus the publishing, sports, TV and news sectors will provide detailed information about how to monetize rich media content. Register online at dcm-west.com and use the promo code DCM MASH for early booking discounts.


June 23 - 24, 2011, Chicago, IL:  SOCIAL CUSTOMER 2011 is a high-level executive summit that focuses on using smart social CRM programs to improve customer loyalty, enhance brand experience and increase revenue. Hear from game-changing organizations such as Chicago Bulls, Verizon, PepsiCo, Dell, Bloomberg, Rosetta Stone, H&R Block, Godiva, Dominos Pizza and more! Also hear our keynote presentation by Becky Carroll, Social Media Correspondent, NBC 7 / SAN DIEGO, Author, THE HIDDEN POWER OF YOUR CUSTOMERS. Organizations must embrace today's empowered customers, so if you are a business leader who is looking to deliver world-class experience via social networks, this event is the #1 place to be. Join the conversation and register today (Save $200 with the promo code SYX243).


June 27-29, 2011, Las Vegas, NV: The Future of Web Apps (FOWA) is coming to Vegas. After successfully running shows in Miami and London, the conference hits Vegas for the first time in June. A conference for web developers and entrepreneurs, there are 3 days of jam packed web fun including a day of workshops and 2 conference days of two tracks. As well as App Clinics and Expo Area, you can learn and network with people who have passion for the web! Register with the code FOWA_MASHABLE and receive 10% off our 2 day conference passes.


July 14-16, 2011, Dallas, TX: The Big Design Conference is an intense day of learning within the scope of Strategy, Social Media, User Experience, Gaming, Mobile, Usability, Design, and Code Development. Experts from across the country will gather to present theories, research, experiences, and best practices to students, professionals, and executives looking to stay on the bleeding edge. Experts include Beverly Robertson (President, National Civil Rights Museum), Russ Unger (Director of UX, Happy Cog), Jeremy Johnson (Director of UX, Game Stop), Brian Sullivan (Usability Principal, Sabre), Joshua Clark (author of Tapworthy), Jared Spool (Founder, User Interface Engineering), and many more. Mashable readers receive 20% off conference registration by using the code MASHABLE during the checkout process.


July 27-29, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Join us at the premiere of ePharma Summit West, the sister event to The ePharma Summit, the largest, longest running and most respected digital marketing event for the Life Sciences Industry. Network and join the conversation with hundreds of fellow thought leaders from top Pharma, Biotech, Device and Health Science companies. Register as a Mashable reader with the promo code XP1656MASH and save 10%.


August 1-3, 2011, San Antonio, TX: The eduWeb Conference is the event for you to meet, share, explore, and learn from your higher education peers on topics including mobile apps, branding, web site analytics, social media strategic planning, and web development. eduWeb offers four tracks: marketing communications; design and development; social media; and information architecture. Register with the promo code 11Mash and save $50!


September 6-8, 2011, Cleveland, OH: At Content Marketing World, you'll learn how to transform your marketing department into a storytelling factory, engaging your prospects and customers in all the right channels with the right messages– including social, mobile, email, online and even print and in-person strategies. Through 24+ breakout sessions and amazing keynotes led by worldwide experts, you'll get the tools you need to be a successful content marketer. Plus, you'll experience the best of what Cleveland has to offer, starting with our opening night reception at the infamous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Register and use the promo code mash to receive $100 off the current price of a ticket.


September 11-14, 2011, Denver, CO: Come join the best and brightest of the iOS development community at 360|iDev, the first iOS developer event to be held by the developer community! Speakers include many leading community members, and app store success stories. With over 40 sessions, including hands-on training the sunday before the conference, 360|iDev offers more content than any other iOS developer event in the world. Register and use the promo code iosmash to save 20% of the ticket price.


September 12-13, 2011, Renaissance Glendale, Phoenix, AZ: The third Social Media Optimization Summit event, presented by Multifamilypro, brings together small to mid-sized business owners with an interest in putting social media to work successfully within their organizations in ways that are proven to generate results. The event offers two full days of intensive, hands-on workshops from the intermediate to advanced level, led by top social media experts. The unique "See it. Hear it. Do it." approach allows attendees to learn by doing, and begin immediately applying newly-acquired skills and knowledge while the event is underway. See what others are saying about the event and register now at optimizationsummits.com and use discount code Mashable to save $100!


September 20, 2011, Chicago, IL: Federated Media presents Signal Chicago: The Marketing in Real Time Conversation. We will be focusing on the theme of “Marketing in Real Time.” From “real time bidding” on new demand-side and exchange platforms to “real time messaging” of location-based services, marketing has time-shifted into the present tense. A new suite of tools and services have evolved which enable the marketer to have conversations with customers in real time, creating both challenges and opportunities.Please join us More information and registration details at http://www.federatedmedia.net/events – Register with promo code SIGMash to save 15%


Sept 21-22, 2011, London, UK: ad:tech London is the UK’s essential free to attend event for professionals seeking to stay ahead of the latest interactive media, advertising and marketing trends. The event unites advertisers, media owners and agencies to harness the power of digital and deliver real marketing ROI. Alongside the exhibition, there is also a conference featuring 100+ international speakers for serious digital innovators and marketers. Mashable readers can take 20% off their conference ticket price. Register online now with the promo code MASH11 at www.ad-techlondon.co.uk.


September 26-29, 2011, Kaua’i, HI: Search and Social Hawaii is an elite conference unlike any other that will provide you with the strategies and complete know how to thrive in this ever changing environment. Each day begins with morning sessions around the hottest topics. With Keynote Bruce Clay of Bruce Clay, Inc. and speakers from corporations such as Real Networks, Network Solutions, AT&T, Microsoft Bing and Logitech. Afternoons are spent in a relaxed environment including planned activities in which individual attendees can get to know speakers and each other on a more personal level continuing the discussion and building long lasting relationships. Register and use the promo code SSWootMash to save 10%.


September 29-October 1, 2011, Atlanta, GA: As pet owners, bloggers, consumer brands and those connected to the industry – including veterinarians – continue to build upon social media & marketing, pet social media education & networking is an extremely important aspect to mobilizing efforts and to address the challenges faced by pet owners. Whether you use YouTube, Twitter, Dog/Catbook or online forums to gather & share information about pets, it's increasingly important for this community to have a face-to-face forum. Established in 2009, the BarkWorld Conference & Expo is the only pet social media conference covering ALL facets of social media & pet education. Our 2011 annual conference will focus on many topics, including: how to take great photos your pet & use it online, how to build/design a blog & monetize, mobile applications, metrics/SEO, pet food demonstrations, promoting your pet/business via social media and using online forums. Join us for this 2 ½ day conference. You'll be amazed with the information you'll walk away with and the new connections you'll make; your well-trained, leashed, pet is welcome. Register with the promo code MASH2011 to receive a 25% discount.


October 1-6, Boston, MA: At DMA2011, you – and 10,000 marketing peers from around the world – will find everything you need to develop and execute the real-time integrated marketing campaigns that drive measurable bottomline results for your brand. Listen to 300+ marketing experts and gurus talk about social, mobile, mail, search, data, attribution, and more. Plus, you'll find hundreds of technologies in the Exhibit Hall, the only one of its kind in the world! Register now with the promo code AN504 and SAVE $250!


October 5-6, 2011, Seattle, WA: The first annual Seattle Interactive Conference is a two-day event celebrating the convergence of online technology, creativity, and emerging trends in one of the world’s most innovative cities. SIC brings together entrepreneurs, developers and online business professionals from throughout the U.S. and beyond for a powerful combination of in-depth presentations, networking opportunities, and uniquely Seattle social events. Attendees have the rare opportunity to explore disruptive technologies and business models with visionary thinkers and peers in areas ranging from online commerce and social media to gaming, interactive advertising, entertainment, and much more.


October 9-11, 2011, Scottsdale, AZ: Join 200 of your advertising and PR agency friends at BOLO 2011. This event champions the marketing stalwarts, showing you how to leverage today’s digital marketing trends and technologies for economic advantage. Hear from industry thought leaders such as Scott Stratton, President of UnMarketing, and Jay Baer, author of The Now Revolution. From analytics and targeting to social media and agency management, the topics are cutting-edge and chosen to help your agency stay ahead of the curve in digital. Register now with the promo code MASHABLE for 10% off.


October 17-18, 2011, New York, NY: Pivot is the only conference focused purely on how major brands, agencies, marketers and content creators can succeed by understanding, accessing and influencing the emerging Social Consumer. Hosted by Brian Solis, a noted social marketing consultant to major brands worldwide and author of Engage, the self-help handbook for winning the new marketing game, Pivot delivers two full days of unique content and experiences that illuminate the altered marketing landscape, delivered by transformational thinkers, technologists, entrepreneurs and entertainers. Register with the promo code MASH20 and save 20%!


October 26-27, 2011, Sofia, Bulgaria: The only digital industry event for Central and Eastern Europe and one of industry’s premier events in Europe. At the Webit Expo & Conference, more than 6000 people from the CE Europe’ digital ecosystem gather together. Amazing line up of world renowned international and local speakers in the conference programme and some of the top service and technology providers among the exhibitors. Webit Conference programme includes The Main Stage (inspiring keynotes from the leading digital companies in the world), Webit Dev Camp (where platform owners meet the developers of CEE), eGov Summit (regional government officials and world CEOs in discussion on e-gov, e-health, etc), The Creative Lounge (the world’s creative minds gathered together). Register with the promo code WEBMASH and save 10%!


November 3-5, 2011, Los Angeles, CA: BlogWorld & New Media is the first and only industry-wide conference, tradeshow and media event dedicated to blogging, podcasting, social media, social networking, online video, music, Internet TV and radio. BlogWorld conference attendees enjoy more than 120 cutting-edge educational sessions presented by industry leaders, while New Media Expo provides the only industry-wide new media marketplace for networking, online business and marketing resources. Social Media Business Summit, exclusive to BlogWorld, is the world's largest social media business conference where business owners, marketing executives and global brands learn strategies, tools and technologies to grow their businesses with social media. Register at blogworldexpo.com with the promo code MASH20 to save 20% off the ticket price!


November 16-18, 2011, Las Vegas, NV: The WOMMA Summit is the only word of mouth marketing conference where research and measurement integrate with online social media and offline conversations. The Summit is a year-end review of BEST and NEXT practices in word or mouth and social media marketing in addition to future trends. WOMMA Summit showcases through leadership from some of the innovative and forward thinking. Go to www.womma.org to learn more about the event and use code WOMMASummitMASH when registering for the event.


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Just How Dangerous Is Sitting All Day? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 09 May 2011 01:46 PM PDT


Sitting down, which most of us do for at least eight hours each day, might be the worst thing we do for our health all day.

We’ve been preaching the benefits of stand-up desks for a while around here — and no one needs this good news more than social media-obsessed web geeks. A recent medical journal study showed that people who sit for most of their day are 54% more likely to die of a heart attack.

And our readers are receptive to the idea, too. In fact, in a recent poll, three-fourths of you said you already used a stand-up desk or you’d like to try one.

So if you need more convincing, check out these graphically organized stats from Medical Billing and Coding. We like it for the information it contains, but we love it for the Saul Bass, Vertigo-esque graphics.

Click to see full-size image.

Source: medicalbillingandcoding.org

More About: health, infographic, sitting down, stand-up desks

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Microsoft Opens A PC Store In User’s Home [VIDEO]

Posted: 09 May 2011 01:35 PM PDT

Microsoft is taking a novel approach to selling its Windows 7 operating system by opening stores in people’s homes. At least that’s what will be happening in its new commercials.

A new campaign set to air Monday night during primetime on ABC, CBS and NBC features a British woman named Julie from a focus group. Julie insists that she's not interested in a new PC because she's happy with what she has. To test her resolve, her husband agrees to have Microsoft come in and turn their house into a PC store. After Julie sees that the latest line of PCs has touchscreens and doesn’t require space-stealing towers anymore, she admits that she was wrong.

The ads, obviously meant to spike demand as Windows PC sales have dipped, continues along the vein of Microsoft's "Laptop Hunters" ads from 2009. The same ad agency — Crispin Porter + Bogusky — is on board this time around.

What do you think? Would this persuade you to check out new Windows PCs? Let us know in the comments.

More About: advertising, crispin porter + Bogusky, MARKETING, microsoft, Windows 7

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Android Nabs Third Of Smartphone Market, BlackBerry Plummets [REPORT]

Posted: 09 May 2011 01:20 PM PDT


Google’s Android now holds more than a third of the U.S. smartphone market share, eclipsing both RIM’s BlackBerry OS and Apple’s iOS with a growing lead, comScore reports.

Measuring more than 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers through its MobiLens service from December 2010 to March 2011, ComScore found that Android now holds 34.7% — a solid increase from 31.2% in January, which was when Android jumped ahead of RIM as the top smartphone platform in the U.S. for the first time.

Apple held its own, growing from 25% in December 2010 to 25.5% in March 2011. It seems most of Android’s growth was at the expense of RIM, which dropped from 31.6% to 27.1% in that same period.

Microsoft and Palm, which hold the fourth and the fifth place on the list, also lost a fair share of subscribers, dropping to 7.5% and 2.8%, respectively.

On the mobile equipment manufacturer front, very little has changed. Motorola dropped from 16.7% to 15.8% from December 2010 to March 2011, and the only company that experienced significant growth in this period was Apple, which grew from 6.8% to 7.9%, largely due to the iPhone launching on Verizon in February.

More About: android, apple, blackberry, Google, iOS, Mobile 2.0, RIM, smartphone, U.S.

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iPhotography App Showcase: 10 Color Splash Creations [PICS]

Posted: 09 May 2011 01:06 PM PDT


iPhotography isn’t just about the iPhone; it’s as much about the apps, too. We’re taking a closer look at some of the most popular iPhotography apps from the viewpoint of the developers, showcasing great photos created with some great apps.

Color Splash [iTunes link] is one such popular app. Since its release in February 2009, Color Splash has continually been among the top 10 best-selling iPhone photography apps in the U.S. It has consistently been in the top 100 best selling apps for most of that time as well. Further, it was selected by Apple as one of just 50 apps to grace its App Store Hall of Fame [iTunes link].

We got in touch with developer Hendrik Kueck, the founder of the company behind the app, Pocket Pixels, to talk all things Color Splash and discuss the work that’s been created with it.

“As a developer you always think about your users and wonder how they might be using your app. It is incredibly satisfying to read user reviews on the App Store from users expressing their love for your app and hearing how it encourages them to take more photos and get more creative with their photography,” Kueck told Mashable. “And it is more gratifying still to actually see the amazing images people are creating using the app.”

Kueck has handpicked 10 photos created with Color Splash and explains why he feels they showcase the best the app has to offer. Take a look through the gallery for some inspirational iPhotography and, in the comments, let us know what other iPhone photography apps you’d be interested in reading more about.


1. Autumn Colors by Duncan Smith




"The use of Color Splash in this photo nicely highlights the beautiful fall colors, as well as the details in the leaf."


2. Winstone by Andrew Clarke




"In this excellent close-up shot of an owl, the eyes are the perfect detail to leave in color, because owls have such wonderfully mysterious and hypnotic eyes."


3. Untitled by Geraldine Rowe




"The contrast between the color and black and white shoe breaks the symmetry in this shot and thereby makes it interesting. It also nicely highlights the very colourful pattern of these shoes."


4. 4nr2 by Joe Presto




"In this shot, the selective color effect nicely highlights one of London's iconic red double-decker buses. The motion blurred background makes the photo feel dynamic and further helps focus the viewer's attention on the moving bus."


5. Eye of Color by Justin Sanchez




"The beautiful color of the eye stands out strongly thanks to the shallow depth of field and the desaturation of the rest of the face."


6. Sunflower Color Splash by Jorgen Floor




"Sunflowers are well loved for their vibrant color. In this image, Color Splash was put to good use to highlight the beautiful yellow-orange of the petals."


7. Cousin Russell by Steve Hodgson




"The use of Color Splash in this photo makes the little boy look like he is in an old hand-coloured black and white photo. I also like how the lack of color in the background combined with the wide angle shot gives the city an abandoned and somewhat eerie look."


8. '56 Plymouth in Chor Bazaar by George Conboy




"This photo shows a fairly busy street scene with plenty of details. Leaving only the car in color completely focuses the viewer's attention on it."


9. The Sad Santa by Ian Applegate




"The contrast of the static Santa against the moving train and walking woman in the background makes him seem disconnected from the world around him. The selective color treatment effectively amplifies this feeling and makes you wonder what 'Santa' might be thinking about."


10. Let Go by Josh Milton




"The creative use of the selective color effect adds a surreal feeling to this macro photo and calls attention to the beautiful golden water droplets."


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

More About: apple, colorsplash, gallery, iphone, iphone apps, iphonography, iphotography, List, Lists, mobile photography, photography, photography app

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Got Cloud Storage? MiMedia Offers 7GB For Free [VIDEO]

Posted: 09 May 2011 12:49 PM PDT


File storage and backup service MiMedia is exiting beta and offering customers some improved pricing plans, as well as a free option that lets users store up to 7GB of music, movies, photos or documents in the cloud.

Online backup services have become popular over the past few years as more users have discovered firsthand the importance of off-site backups. Thanks to Dropbox and similar services, however, the ability to have instant access to files from another machine or even from an iPhone, iPad or Android device, has become just as enticing a reason to sign up.

Similarly, MiMedia aims to offer users to access data from other computers and on the iPhone and iPad.

Check out this video to see how MiMedia works:


New Freemium Model


Services like Dropbox typically limit users to 2GB of free space — Box.net lets users have 5GB (but limits the size of individual files), so 7GB for the free plan is nice. Paid plans start at $9.99 per month or $99 per year for 250GB of storage. That compares favorably to Dropbox, Mozy and Carbonite.

Windows Skydrive is the record holder in terms of cloud storage space, offering 25 GB for free. But Skydrive doesn’t have the same easy access or streaming media options as MiMedia or Dropbox. If that’s what you’re looking for, MiMedia is the option with the most storage.

Right now MiMedia is Windows only. MiMedia says that a Mac OS X version is in the works and users can access and upload files using the web interface. I found the interface clean and the setup easy to handle. As a media sharing/backup tool, MiMedia has the goods.


Competition Looming


MiMedia is being particularly aggressive with its pricing and freemium options because it faces competition from multiple angles.

Not only are the more traditional backup services getting into the real-time access game, but major companies like Real Networks are preparing to enter the space.

I had the chance to look at Real’s Unifi system at CES 2011 and was impressed with the features and setup. Smaller startups like Libox also want a piece of the pie.

The real competition, however, may come from the biggest names in tech. Amazon recently introduced its Cloud Player and Cloud Drive products, while Google and Apple are rumored to be working on cloud-based media library solutions. Microsoft’s SkyDrive solution hasn’t really gained a lot of traction, but the infrastructure is certainly in place.

How do you back up and remotely access your media? Let us know in the comments.

More About: cloud storage, media management, MiMedia

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Nexus S 4G Now Available From Sprint

Posted: 09 May 2011 12:36 PM PDT


The 4G version of Google’s Nexus S smartphone is now available from Sprint for $199.99 with a two-year contract.

Manufactured by Samsung and branded by Google, the Nexus S 4G runs on Android 2.3, a.k.a. Gingerbread, and features a 4-inch power-saving super AMOLED touchscreen display, 1 GHz Hummingbird CPU, 16 GB of storage memory, two cameras and near-field communication capabilities.

The device is essentially the same as the T-Mobile version, but under Sprint‘s wing it also has a WiMAX chip, which enables fast mobile data transfer (theoretically, up to 40 megabits per second).

The phone is also available at Best Buy with an additional $50 discount for new customers.

More About: 4G, Google, Mobile 2.0, Nexus S 4G, smartphone, sprint

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Tumblr Gets More Social, Launches Share Button

Posted: 09 May 2011 12:25 PM PDT


Publishing platform Tumblr has joined the ranks of social networks Twitter and Facebook by introducing the Tumblr Button. The Tumblr Button is designed to allow content publishers from across the web to better interact with the Tumblr community.

On its blog, Tumblr says the Tumblr Button offers “complete control over how your content appears when shared on Tumblr.”

While the appearance of the Tumblr Button is similar to the share buttons offered by other services, the functional scope is significantly more advanced.

The Tumblr Button documents showcase how publishers can integrate the new button into their platforms. In its most basic implementation, Tumblr users can share a link, sans pre-filled description to an article or website.

The button can be customized to share a link to an article with a pre-filled description, a specific pull quote (complete with attribution) and even specific paragraphs from an article page. Images and video embeds can also be customized to work as Image and Video post types within Tumblr. The buttons can even be configured to work in PHP, Ruby or JavaScript.

We’ll be doing a more in-depth tutorial of how the button works later this afternoon. In the meantime, what do you think of the Tumblr Button?

More About: share button, tumblr, tumblr button

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YouTube Adds 3,000 Movies to Its Rental Service

Posted: 09 May 2011 12:14 PM PDT


YouTube is adding 3,000 movies to its on-demand video rental service, pushing Google’s video platform into direct competition with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Apple.

The announcement confirms rumors from April that YouTube intended to launch an on-demand movie service with content from Sony, Warner, Universal and Lionsgate. YouTube’s new roster of films will go live Monday. The video service will also be hosting movie reviews and behind-the-scenes movie extras typically found in DVD and Blu-ray releases.

“You're finding more and more of the content you love on YouTube, which is now available on 350 million devices,” the head of YouTube, Salar Kamangar, wrote in a blog post. “We know this because you're watching videos to the tune of 2 billion views a day. But you're spending just 15 minutes a day on YouTube, and spending five hours a day watching TV. As the lines between online and offline continue to blur, we think that's going to change.”

YouTube’s rise was largely fueled by amateur content and cat videos. But the site has been increasingly focused on creating higher quality content by training its rising stars and bringing in premium content such as feature-length films. It has also been rumored to be working on adding “channels” to make it feel more like a TV destination.

Today's move marks YouTube's biggest push yet to bring professional, magnetizable content to its platform. To see which titles are now available on YouTube, click here.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Photographer1773

More About: Film, Google, movie, netflix, youtube

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Gabcast.TV Wants to Make You A Reality TV Star [EXCLUSIVE]

Posted: 09 May 2011 11:54 AM PDT


Gabcast.TV hopes to break into the live video streaming space, with backing from some big players in Hollywood.

At its core, Gabcast.TV, which launches Monday, is a live video service. In that respect, it isn’t too different from Ustream and Justin.tv. However, the site’s focus, design and purpose are unique. Its pitch is about helping you become “a reality star on the next generation of TV.” Users can stream live video to a general audience, or they can start up a group video chat with up to five people (much like TinyChat). There’s no limit to how many people can watch a group video chat.

“We’re trying to bring the viewers in closer to the content,” co-founder and CEO Paul Wagner told Mashable. “We want to bring the creation process and the engagement process closer together.”

The startup is backed by some major Hollywood players. Co-founder and Chairman Fred Silverman is the former CEO of NBC and was a driving force behind shows such as Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, Charlie’s Angels and Happy Days. Wagner has a decade of production experience too, first with an Emmy Award-winning kids’ show and then in the technology space. Gabcast also has two high-profile advisors: former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and former ABC Entertainment Group chairman and Yahoo exec Lloyd Braun.

YouTube did a great job creating a venue for people to express themselves, Wagner says, and Ustream and Justin.tv took that self-expression to another level. Gabcast.TV is focused on giving users greater engagement and stronger interactivity.

To that end, Gabcast.TV is focused on channels. “Pets,” “College Fun,” “Dating Fun,” “Shop With Me” and “Anything Goes” are just a few of the channels the site advertises. Some 400 pre-alpha users used the site for live pet adoptions, mock dating shows and live music and comedy shows. There’s a stronger emphasis on hosts and creating engaging shows through group video chats, which is why Gabcast.TV has a team dedicated to finding and keeping talent for its channels.

The site’s look and feel is also different from the clean and minimalist interface that dominate Silicon Valley web design. Gabcast.TV is more animated and playful, something that will likely play better with a younger audience.

“We thought about the intro to the Simpsons,” Wagner said about the design decisions. While its test users have had positive feedback about the layout, the site may pull back on the imagery to improve load time.

Ustream and Justin.tv proved live streaming is big business. If Gabcast.TV can attract talent through its Hollywood connections, it might be able to carve out a niche in the increasingly competitive live streaming space. Because, in the end, it’s all about the content.

More About: Gabcast, gabcast.tv, justin-tv, Michael Eisner, ustream, videoG

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Mexico City To Send Earthquake Warnings Via Social Media

Posted: 09 May 2011 11:41 AM PDT


Mexico City plans to start warning about earthquakes through mobile text messages and social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.

The new alert system should launch by September 19, a date marking anniversary of the 8.1-magnitude Mexico City earthquake that killed about 10,000 people in 1985.

Currently, Mexico City employs an earthquake warning system with radio warnings and sirens that don’t always go off, and some citizens report they cannot hear them.

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, a likely contender in the 2012 presidential election, likes the idea for its simplicity. “I think we will have it in place soon, because it is not too complex,” he said. His administration is talking to several service providers to put the alert system in place.

Twitter has shown to be a valuable tool during disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis on numerous occasions. After the devastating tsunami that hit Japan in March, Twitter users shared the tsunami's estimated times of arrival on U.S. shores before the government issued an official tsunami warning.

[via Reuters, AP]

More About: Earthquake, facebook, Mexico City, Mobile 2.0, twitter

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6 Best Practices for Media Companies on Facebook

Posted: 09 May 2011 11:28 AM PDT


The Facebook Marketing Series is supported by Buddy Media. Eight of the world’s top ten brands use the Buddy Media Platform to power their social marketing on Facebook. Find out why here.

Now a top-five referrer to the websites of many a publisher, as well as a valuable feedback tool, Facebook has become an essential part of the content and audience development strategies of most media organizations.

To capitalize on the potential of Facebook and other user-heavy social networks, publishers have hired community managers and digital strategists to optimize traffic and engagement on those platforms. Editors, reporters and producers are likewise tapping into Facebook, using reactions from fans to improve their storytelling methods.

We spoke with several talented people fulfilling these roles at major media organizations, and we’ve gathered their thoughts below.


1. Choose the Right Content


Publishers have found that certain kinds of content perform better than others on Facebook, particularly content that inspires emotional connections with readers.

“We share stories that are emotional triggers, that are not just informational,” says Ryan Osborn, director of social media at NBC News, noting that stories about social justice, politics and timely issues tend to inspire the best discussions.

The goal across NBC’s portfolio of pages, which includes the Today show and Dateline, he says, is less about driving traffic to MSNBC.com or to fans’ TVs, and more about starting conversations, which provide valuable feedback to the network’s producers and reporters.

Andy Carvin, a senior strategist on NPR‘s social media desk, says that reporters and producers begin the story selection process by asking themselves what stories their friends would want to share and talk about with other people on Facebook. Carvin says stories about science, music and culture are among the biggest traffic drivers, and that exclusive first listens of new music “are always a hit.”


2. Add a Thoughtful Caption


Story links with a thoughtful question or statement attached tend to perform much better in terms of response and click-throughs, the experts say.

“Posing questions is a good way to stir debate,” says Ed O’Keefe, executive producer of ABCNews.com. “We don’t always ask a question, however. Sometimes [we post] a statement or perspective, sometimes photo or videos,” he adds.

Other publishers agree that variety and thoughtfulness are key. Brainless, formulaic questions are uninteresting and often offensive to readers — and readers will let them know that they find them so.

“Understand that your fans and followers are expecting the same editorial quality from your brand no matter what platform they are on. Take the time to craft engaging editorial posts,” advises Laura Heck, executive director of audience development at Time.com.

NPR’s Carvin agrees: “If you’re going to ask them questions, ask them smart ones; don’t waste their time with pandering questions.”

Posts should also have a reasonable amount of personality, O’Keefe says. “Post as a user,” he advises. “Really try to infuse it with the personal as much as [you] can. If it’s stuffy and individual, no one’s going to read it,” he explains.


3. Time Your Posts


The amount of times publishers post to their Facebook walls each day varies. Time.com posts six to eight posts per day on Facebook, Heck says. Additional posts are sent overnight from staff at Time’s international bureaus, when readers outside of the U.S. are more active, Allie Townsend, Time.com’s social media producer, says.

NPR posts 8 to 10 stories per day, Carvin says, spacing them out “by at least an hour” so as not to overwhelm fans. “You’d think that 8 to 10 times per day is too much, but when we’ve surveyed our users, less than 10% of them felt it was too much, so it seems to be our sweet spot,” he adds, noting that additional posts are sent out at night “to reach a crowd that’s different than our daytime crowd.”

Anxious not to overwhelm its audience, NBC News posts about five times per day on average, Osborn says.

Publishers say they will make exceptions to their posting schedules to allow for breaking news announcements, although Kanalley of the Huffington Post says the company “shows restraint during breaking news,” because Facebook’s environment is different than Twitter’s.

Last month, KMOV TV station turned to Facebook when a tornado struck the St. Louis airport, posting warnings to readers, as well as photos and videos of damage, some of which were crowdsourced from readers. Posts were tagged by individual journalists, more closely replicating the broadcaster-to-viewer experience, and adding a layer of transparency to the updates.


4. Listen & Engage


Unlike many other forms of media, Facebook is not a broadcast platform; it’s a social one. As such, listening and responding to fans is an essential part of a media organization’s Facebook strategy, publishers say.

“We don’t want to become a news organization that only places value in the number of clicks we generate per post,” says Townsend of Time.com. “We want to be a gathering place for people to discuss the news of the day,” she explains, adding that readers “want to feel like there’s someone on the other end listening to what they have to say.”

NPR’s Carvin agrees. “Let [your fans] know there are real people running the page, not just a faceless, monolithic institution,” he says. “And if you’re able to create journalism around any information you’ve gleaned from them, be sure to report back to them so they can see the result of their efforts. It’s important for them to know that they’re actually helping you be a better news organization,” he advises.

The Huffington Post closely monitors conversations after posting, traffic and trends editor Craig Kanalley says. “It’s a great way to get honest feedback about how we’re doing,” he explains. “When clarification is needed, we will jump into a Facebook comment thread and do so using the Huffington Post account itself” — a common practice across large media organizations, we’ve found.


5. Use Feedback to Inform Storytelling


While publishers recognize Facebook’s value as a traffic referrer, many emphasize the platform’s value as a tool for feedback that can help improve not only their social media strategies, but also the way they source, develop and tell stories.

“It’s about interacting with the people who love us and listening to the people who don’t, because both can help us strengthen our reporting,” says Carvin of NPR. “We monitor a variety of metrics just like any other news organization would on Facebook, but we pay particular attention to whenever our interactions with the public lead to better journalism. If talking with our Facebook fans helps us report or tell a story better, that’s a success in my book,” he adds.

Time.com’s Heck agrees. "We often review analytics and insights to understand more about our top-performing posts, but look at our Facebook page primarily as an editorial tool."


6. Journalists Should Use It, Too


Facebook’s utility doesn’t begin and end in the digital strategy department. Facebook is also proving useful for journalists, and is keen to be seen as such.

Facebook’s Vadim Lavrusik, an adjunct professor at Columbia’s journalism school who recently joined the company to oversee journalist outreach efforts, encourages journalists to set up their own public Pages. With Pages, journalists can attract a following greater than the 5,000 friend limit imposed on personal profiles, and create a newsfeed unique from the one that appears on their personal profiles.

He points to journalists such as Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times, who has used his Page to post updates while reporting abroad. These posts often give readers a behind-the-scenes look at Kristof’s reporting, ranging from reports of heavy gunfire heard during phone interviews with sources in Libya, to real-time updates of protests in Bahrain. These updates, Lavrusik says, spread through the newsfeeds of his more than 200,000 Facebook fans, reaching thousands of potential new readers in the process.

Writers like Rob Carrick of the Globe and Mail and Fareed Zakaria of CNN are also utilizing Facebook as a tool to solicit feedback and start dialogues with readers, whilst Diane Sawyer's team posts behind-the-scenes videos of her meetings and interviews to her Page.


Share Your Feedback


And now we’d like to hear from you. What media companies do you enjoy following on Facebook? How could they utilize Facebook better? How would you like to see individual journalists use the platform to better serve you as readers?


Series Supported by Buddy Media

The Facebook Marketing Series is supported by Buddy Media. Eight of the world’s top ten brands use the Buddy Media Platform to power their social marketing on Facebook. Find out why here.


More Facebook Marketing Resources from Mashable:


- 4 Ways to Set Up a Storefront on Facebook
- HOW TO: Add Social Sharing Buttons to Your Website
- The Future of Social Search
- 5 Creative Facebook Places Marketing Campaigns
- Dog: Man’s Best Facebook Friend, Too? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ideabug

More About: abc news, facebook, Facebook Marketing Series, Huffington Post, journalism, List, Lists, media, nbc news, NPR, social media, time

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Google Celebrates Beloved Children’s Book Author With Ever-Changing Doodle

Posted: 09 May 2011 10:51 AM PDT


Roger Hargreaves — of the Mr. Men children’s book fame — would have turned 76 Monday, and to celebrate, Google has released tons of Doodles featuring the author’s characters.

From Little Miss Chatterbox to Little Miss Bossy (who I always felt a particular kinship with), Hargreaves’s simple, colorful figures were a presence in many a childhood.

The first book, Mr. Tickle, was published in 1971 — it was inspired by the author’s son, who asked what a tickle looked like, according to Time. Hargreaves died at age 53 in 1988, but his son kept the books going.

And soon, the series will even manifest itself as an animated feature, thanks to 20th Century Fox.

Head to Google today and click around — each page will bring up a new character. Which was your favorite as a kid?

More About: books, google doodle, Little Miss Chatterbox, little-miss-bossy, Roger Hargreaves

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Newt Gingrich Announces Presidential Run on Facebook & Twitter

Posted: 09 May 2011 10:32 AM PDT


Former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich has announced that he will be seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. president in 2012. Gingrich’s plans were made public via Facebook and Twitter Monday, where he also asked supporters to tune into his Fox News interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday night.

Gingrich made his announcement on the aforementioned social networks late Monday morning, with both his tweet and Facebook post going out at about the same time. “I have been humbled by all the encouragement you have given me to run. Thank you for your support,” Gingrich’s Facebook post says, before asking the public to watch Hannity at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday. “I will be on to talk about my run for President of the United States.”

As the Associated Press reports, Gingrich’s bid isn’t much of a surprise. The former speaker spent months raising money and assembling a campaign team, while quietly opening campaign headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. He’s supposed to address the Georgia Republican Party Convention on Friday in Macon, Georgia — aides are saying this will be his first speech as a candidate.

Gingrich’s decision to enter the race marks a bit of a comeback for the politician, who became House speaker in 1994 — the first time Republicans had control of the House since 1954. But in November 1998, after facing ethics inquiries, Gingrich announced his decision to step down and leave Congress. Since that time, he has continued speaking about topics such as healthcare and foreign policy, while also producing documentaries and writing a book: Rediscovering God in America.

The former speaker isn’t the only political candidate to announce his run via social media. Last month, Mitt Romney — former Massachusetts governor — announced his 2012 presidential bid via a YouTube video. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty also announced his bid via Facebook in March. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama’s team is also pushing his reelection campaign via various digital initiatives.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Gage Skidmore

More About: 2012 election, 2012 presidential campaign, facebook, newt gingrich, social media, trending, twitter

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Cloud Cult’s “The Exploding People” Explores the Mystery of Life [VIDEO]

Posted: 09 May 2011 10:15 AM PDT


Each Monday, Mashable highlights an exclusive new video or song. Check out all our Music Monday picks.

Before Monday encases you in a cocoon of grey suits and cubicles, take a moment to check out the latest video from experimental indie rock band, Cloud Cult. The video for “The Exploding People,” off of the band’s latest disc, Light Chasers, was released Monday.

“The original idea behind ‘Exploding People’ is that whole rat race — all these people in condensed downtown areas packed into their cubicles, that metaphor for packing away vital passions and feelings that we have in our lives,” says Cloud Cult lead singer/songwriter Craig Minowa. “It was originally created with the office complex in mind — that whole pushing down, pushing back what you really are and, ultimately, that exploding.”

The video is the first in a series of videos depicting a couple that fall in love as kids and grow up together. The woman dies, and the man is left alone, looking for answers as to why his love left him. This particular video introduces us to the man in his cubicle, where he sees a picture of the woman on his computer. The memory that it evokes leads him to rip apart the machine and find her in a forest filled with memories and light.

The song itself treads the line between modernity and a kind of mythic quality, starting off with sparse, folksy guitars and leading into jarring autotune.

Light Chasers [iTunes link] is the band’s tenth studio album and follows a similar theme as previous discs, says Minowa: “A search for the big picture, the grand mystery, the truth and understanding why we’re here and what we’re supposed to do and where we go when we die, where our loved ones who have gone before us are, and if there’s any way to get back to them.”

That theme is very apt for Minowa. He and his wife, Connie, a visual artist and a member of Cloud Cult, lost their 2-year-old son in the early 2000s.

“Earlier albums … were really focused on that grieving process,” he says. “The newer album, we had a baby on the way, so the Light Chasers concept is also sort of the idea of a soul being broken off of that same source of light, whatever that God source is, and coming down to earth and being born as a human that then spends the rest of its life looking for that light.”

More About: cloud-cult, light-chasers, music, music monday, video

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Google Image Search Now Lets You Sort by Subject

Posted: 09 May 2011 10:04 AM PDT


Google’s image search has a new feature that might help you find images related to a specific subject.

When searching for a term in Google Image Search, the images are sorted by relevance by default. Click on “sort by subject” and Google will organize the search results into categories that are likely to be relevant to you.

For example, searching for London and then sorting by subject, will offer you images of the London Eye, the famous ferris wheel situated on the banks of the River Thames, London’s iconic Big Ben tower, the London Bridge and the city at night. The option should be particularly handy if you’re looking for different varieties of a term and you can’t remember the exact name, like a dog breed.

The feature may seem simple, but Google hints that it took a lot of work and expertise to make it happen. “By looking at multiple sources of similarities, such as pixel values and semantic relationships, and by mining massive amounts of data, we can make meaningful connections and groupings among images,” Google’s Donald Tanguay says in a blog post.

If you don’t see this new feature yet, don’t worry: It’ll be rolled out globally in the next week. You can check out an overview in the video below.

More About: Google, image search, Search, subject

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YouTube Founders Acquire Social Media Analytics Company Tap11

Posted: 09 May 2011 09:53 AM PDT


Hot on the heels of their acquisition of Delicious, YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen are adding to their new startup with the addition of real-time business intelligence platform Tap11.com.

Tap11 and Delicious will both be part of AVOS, the Internet company led by Hurley and Chen.

Tap11 is an analytics platform that focuses on Twitter (it has access to the firehose) and Facebook, but it can also be linked to other social and publishing accounts. It’s part of a growing industry of single-dashboard reporting tools that are designed for marketers and community managers looking to better gauge social media ROI.

Salesforce.com recently acquired Radian6 and this acquisition makes it clear that analytics and reporting tools are going to continue to be a hot area moving into the second half of 2011 and beyond.

The Tap11 acquisition provides important context to the Delicious purchase. In a statement announcing the acquisition, Tap11 CTO Braxton Woodham said,

“We plan to leverage our Volume algorithm to fully measure the impact of content consumed and shared across the social ecosystem.In combination with Delicious.com, we will be able to provide consumers and publishers with deep, relevant insights and recommendations.”

In other words, it’s the data wrapped up inside the Delicious ecosystem that makes it valuable. From a reporting perspective, publishers and marketers could potentially get better insight into how many people bookmark, tag, share or discover a link using Delicious. For certain types of engagement, this could be very powerful.

In theory, of course, this is what Yahoo was trying to do with Delicious. The company simply never found a way to monetize or better integrate that data with its other tools.

Before being acquired by LastPass, bookmark service Xmarks was also trying to find a way to monetize bookmarking data.

By having both a robust reporting and analytics platform and access to millions of bookmarks and interaction data, AVOS could be onto something.

More About: avos, delicious, social media analytics, tap11

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HOW TO: Connect With Mashable on the Social Web

Posted: 09 May 2011 09:41 AM PDT


As Mashable continues to grow, so do the number of topics we cover and the ways readers access our content. Many readers visit the website directly or subscribe to our RSS feed, daily emails or Twitter and Facebook pages. Now that we’re even more connected across social spaces, we thought we’d let you know how to find us however works best for you.

The growth of our site also means we’re publishing more and more posts. If you don’t want updates from all of our coverage areas, you can follow just your favorite Mashable topics on Twitter, Facebook and on our own Mashable Follow service.

Mashable

Applications

Mashable Mac App [iTunes Link]
Mashable Yahoo App
Mashable Chrome Extension

More About: facebook, mashable, twitter

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Improv Everywhere Interrupts Conference To Sing About Social Sharing [VIDEO]

Posted: 09 May 2011 09:27 AM PDT

Improv Everywhere, those masters of public disturbance, are at it again, this time disrupting the GEL Conference in New York to sing about one’s urgent need to share via social media.

I really hope this happens at Mashable Connect later this week. And by “hope” I mean “really don’t hope.”

[via Improv Everywhere]

More About: humor, improv everywhere, mashable connect, pop culture, viral video

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