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Sunday, 25 March 2012 by Irwan K Ch

Mashable: Latest 16 News Updates - including “53 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed”

53 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 05:45 PM PDT

Digital Tree

Have you missed any of our new digital media resources? Well, take a break from playing Angry Birds Space on your new iPad to catch up now with our weekly features roundup!

This week we’ve covered ways to improve your vacation using social media, how to protect yourself and your work on Pinterest and 10 places you’re not allowed to see on Google Maps. We also have an exclusive infographic on what’s working in digital non-profit fundraising, ways technology will transform the traditional classroom and seven reasons why you should purchase a ticket to Mashable Connect 2012 (as if there are only seven reasons!). We even poked our heads in at Aviary’s hip NYC nest.

What are you waiting for? Don’t miss your chance to benefit from these resources!

Editor’s Picks

Social Media

For more social media news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s social media channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Business & Marketing

For more business news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s business channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Tech & Mobile

For more tech news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s tech channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, johnwoodcock.

More About: Business, COMMUNICATIONS, Features Week In Review, Social Media, Tech

For Love or Money: Does Online Dating Really Work? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 05:09 PM PDT

Online dating is booming. The industry has doubled since 2007, currently boasting 40 million users and $1.9 billion in annual revenue, according Match.com.

But does online dating really work for the lovelorn? Or does it just help companies rake in heaps of cash?

Some 17% of married couples say they met online, compared to 27% who say they met through a mutual friend and 38% who say they met at work or school. People who meet on dating sites are also quicker to tie the knot than those who meet in the real world — dating for an average of just over 18 months before getting hitched, compared to 42 months for those who meet offline.

But be skeptical when browsing potential love interests; 81% of people online lie about their height, weight or age on dating profiles. Women typically trim about 8 pounds from their weight, while men typically add half an inch to their height.

The infographic below paints a fuller picture of just what the online dating landscape looks like and who its big winners are. MBAPrograms.org pulled research and reporting from a variety of sources to put the pieces together. Check it out and see if it matches your own experiences and assumptions.

Do you think online dating really works? Let us know in the comments.

The logic of online lovin': Does online dating work?
Courtesy of: MBA Programs

More About: infographics, online dating

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Internet-Based Theater Company Lives Between Cyberspace and the Stage

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 04:47 PM PDT

beatrix and fess

A small Philadelphia-based company called New Paradise Laboratories is re-creating theater for the connected generation. It’s incorporating social networks like Facebook, Skype and Chatroulette into the production and presentation of shows, pulling theater into the virtual space.

This innovative experience takes audiences through a rabbit hole on a visually stimulating online adventure. Stories evolve on social networks with multimedia components from YouTube and Sound Cloud. It can be hard to decipher what’s real and what’s fiction.

Before shows open on stage, the audience gets to interact with characters on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr accounts. The theater company works with actors to develop the fictional characters on social media accounts.

“A few years ago, we realized there was a whole audience of people that weren’t really participating in theater but they really heavily influenced by the Internet. They grew up online,” said Katy Otto, NPL’s activity coordinator. “NPL had a lot of interest in making theater that would appeal to these people.”

For the production Fatebook, the company’s theater experience begins on social media. The cast list is available online and shows all the character’s online accounts.

“In ‘Fatebook’ it was a cast of characters that built identities on Facebook but with a different account — they would create an identity,” Otto said. “To start the performance you would follow a cast of characters and their interactions with each other. That culminated in a performance where they all met at a party and got to see how different people evolved.”

The 1996-founded theater company worked to bring Broadway home to the Internet, where interactive performances may thrive. Fatebook was one of the first plays of its kind.

“I feel like it’s like a medium where stories can be told in a whole bunch of ways,” NPL’s artistic director Whit MacLaughlin told Mashable. “I wanted to find out how you use translate theater into an online space. You have to figure out the narration of social media — how to convey something about a person.”

Extremely Public Displays of Privacy is the newest experience presented by NPL. The play’s three acts are available online. Act one consists of videos of the two main female protagonists meeting online for the first time on Chatroulette.

Actress Annie Enneking played Fess Elliot in the production. Enneking created Elliot’s online persona for close to a year, taking pictures, writing songs and updating her Facebook 24/7 as her fictional character.

“I felt very vulnerable to do it,” Enneking said. “I was creating the character online for nine months. Suddenly the day the play went up, we had to go through back in time and publish posts given the timeline of the life of production.”

Separating herself from “being Fess” was difficult when the play was over.

“What I loved the most was that I had a constant outlet for my creativity. I would follow my impulses. I was creating little pieces for my character,” she said. “After the show closed, it felt like a little death.”

In addition to molding the two characters’ lives online, the play also incorporated geo-location technology where a character guides you through a park. Audience members could download a sound file for a 45-minute guided tour in a Philadelphia park. Online audiences can take a virtual walk online via YouTube. The third act completed the play with a real-time performance in Philadelphia where the theater is based.

NPL is currently working on its next interactive play called ’27′ — based around the idea that the lives of creative individuals such as Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain end around this time. The production will debut next fall.

What do you think about the intersection of theatre with the virtual world? Tell us in the comments.

Images courtesy of New Paradise Laboratories

More About: art, Social Media, social networking, theater

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How to Leverage Your Personality Type to Nail the Interview

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 04:22 PM PDT

Mona Abdel-Halim is the co-founder of Resunate, the makers of the Apply widget for startups. You can start attracting top talent for free by getting an Apply widget for your company at Resunate.com/employers. You can also connect with Mona and Resunate on Facebook and Twitter.

With the competition in today's job market, you're considered lucky if you are offered an interview.

But once you've made it to the interview round, there's more to consider than just dressing the part and ensuring you remember to bring extra copies of your resume. To really nail the interview — and ultimately, get the job — you need to demonstrate to the employer why you're the best person for the job. This can be difficult for many job seekers to do.

One way to showcase your talents is through knowing and understanding your personality type. This knowledge enables you to position your natural personality preferences as job strengths and indicators of success.

You may have taken personality assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® instrument before. This is a psychometric tool taken by more than 2 million people annually that sorts your natural preferences, referred by four abbreviated letters. They include:

  • Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)
  • Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)
  • Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
  • Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

There are sixteen possible Myers-Briggs® personality types that help to illuminate your natural preferences. Knowing your personality type can help you understand the type of workplace culture where you'd be most comfortable. This can serve as a guide for the direction you should take in your career in order to be the most successful — and satisfied — on the job.

Personality Type & Your Interview Performance

Depending on your personality type and the position at hand, you can emphasize your strengths and learn how those preferences could help you at this particular organization.

For instance, if you have a preference for thinking and you're vying for a high pressure position with a lot of decision-making, you should communicate your ability to think logically, conduct an objective analysis and consider the impacts and consequences to arrive at the best solution.

No personality type is an indicator that you won't succeed; rather, your type indicates how naturally things come to you and how much you may be within your comfort range.

According to The Myers & Briggs Foundation, "Work environments influence how comfortable you are at your job. Someone with a preference for Introversion, for example, who is required to do a lot of detail work or think through a problem, may find it disruptive to be in an environment that is too loud or where a lot of interaction is required. When you know this about yourself, you can make arrangements to do your work in a more suitable location or at a time when there is less activity and interference."

Personality Type & The Interviewer's Perception of You

When it comes to communication with your interviewer, self-awareness is another vital aspect of a successful interview.

Let's say your preference indicates extraversion, which means you are energized by interacting with people and develop ideas by discussing them with others. You might not have a problem talking about yourself, but you may end up saying things before you've had a chance to think them through. Once you know and understand your personality type, you can pay attention to your potential blind spots (such as responding quickly, sometimes without thinking) during the interview and ensure that you're presenting your best, most professional self. This can also help with the elusive "likeability" factor that many hiring managers and recruiters ultimately look for in a job candidate.

Haven't discovered your personality type yet? While you may think you know your preferences, taking a personality assessment can help you become more aware of how you prefer to work and how you'll get along with others, which is not only valuable during a job interview but also for your career in general.

Employers will be impressed if you know and understand your personality type. It indicates to them that you are aware of yourself and, thus, more easily retained at the job. It also provides much-needed insight on yourself to highlight your strengths and explain why you're the best person for the job. Not only is it a great way to position yourself for career advancement, but it can help you discover how to work better with co-workers and management, knowing their preferences and how they align with yours. This can ensure that if you land the job you don't become one of the many in the workforce gainfully employed but dissatisfied with their job.

Do you know your personality type? How has it played a role in your career or job search?

Social Media Job Listings

Every week we post a list of social media and web job opportunities. While we publish a huge range of job listings, we’ve selected some of the top social media job opportunities from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, gehringj, AlexRaths.

More About: interview, job search series, personality

For more Business coverage:

Jessica Alba’s Startup Honest.com Raises $27 Million in Funding

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 03:57 PM PDT

Jessica Alba - Honest.com

A little honesty goes a long way. For Jessica Alba, Golden Globe-nominated actress and founder of baby products e-retailer The Honest Company, that statement rings truer than ever.

The site just secured over $27 million in funding to grow the baby products space online. And Honest.com investors have quite a portfolio, having also funded successful online retail spaces including ShoeDazzle, LivingSocial, Twitter, Zynga and Netflix.

“The overwhelmingly positive response we have received since our recent launch has shown us we need to continue dedicating time and resources to further develop our Honest brand and community,” Alba said in a press release. “The new funding confirms our positioning and acknowledges the big need for a brand and service to deliver pure, healthy products that are delightful, effective and beautiful.”

Alba runs Honest.com with Christopher Gavigan, the former CEO of nonprofit Healthy Child Healthy World.

Honest.com wants to steer parents away from baby products made with toxic chemicals, offering an abundance of natural soaps, diapers, household cleaners and other must-haves for new parents.

“Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals registers for use in U.S. products have been adequately tested for safety,” the company says on its website.

SEE ALSO: 8 Mainstream Celebrities Who Invest in Tech Startups

The online retailer specializes in providing monthly subscriptions for diapers and other family essentials.

The funding from General Catalyst Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Institutional Venture Partners will help Honest.com develop new products and growth as an e-commerce site, according to the press release.

Check out Honest.com’s launch video:

Image courtesy of Flickr, Mark Sebastian

More About: Business, e-commerce, online retailer, Small Business, Social Good, startup, Tech

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Top 5 Mashable Comments of the Week

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 03:39 PM PDT

We’re back with our weekly top comments from the Mashable community.

In this column, we showcase the best comments we see from our readers, on our site as well as from our Facebook page. We’re always looking for insightful contributions that spark discussion, add unique perspective, or simply make us laugh.

This week, some of the most-discussed topics we covered included Facebook’s announcement of higher resolution photos for user profiles, and the public statement the company made about employers asking potential employees’ for Facebook log-in information. There were also reports of Apple’s new iPad overheating controversy.

Below, check out this week’s roundup of our top 5 comments from readers.

iPad's are hot...literally

Phil Schroeder shares his opinion on the reports of the new iPad overheating problem. He explains the battery overheating could be a sign of Apple's lack of innovation. His comment received a nice debate from fellow commenters.

Original comment posted on:
iPad Heat Controversy Isn't That Hot

Click here to view this gallery.

If you haven’t commented on a Mashable article before, check out Mashable Follow, our content curation and social tool, as well as our comment guidelines to learn more. We’d love for you to join the conversation.

Remember to comment on next week’s articles for a chance to be in the top comments roundup.

More About: comments, community, mashable follow, top comments

For more Social Media coverage:

How Tech and Social Media Are Changing Travel [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 03:03 PM PDT

It’s spring break and summer is just around the corner, which means vacation season is upon us.

From mobile apps to deal sites, people use technology more than ever to help find places to go. Technology also helps vacationers enjoy themselves after they reach their destinations. But just how much is technology changing the way we travel?

Nearly one-third of social media users have used a mobile app to find good prices for flights and hotels, and 15% have downloaded an app specific to a certain trip, according to a survey by the market research company Lab42.

And just because people are on break, they aren’t necessarily taking a break from their devices. More than 80% of international vacationers use their smartphones while abroad. About 70% post photos to a social network while on vacation, and 46% use services like Facebook and Foursquare to check in to restaurants and other places they visit.

For the full picture of how technology and social media are changing our travel experiences, check out the Lab42 infographic below.

What role do tech and social media play in your trips? Let us know in the comments.

More About: ingographics, Tech, travel

4 Ways to Optimize Your iPad For Business

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 02:31 PM PDT

New iPad

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Are you thinking about snapping up a new iPad? The post-PC lifestyle is especially intriguing for business owners who travel on a regular basis and want to travel lightly. It’s easy to forget that the tablet, for all of its shiny tech and workable native apps, is still a blank slate for business. Luckily, that can be solved with a few quick tips — and the right apps. Here’s a round-up of what you need to maximize your iPad’s capabilities and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your new workhorse.

How have you optimized your iPad? Let us know in the comments below.

1. Invest in the Cloud

Everyone in the tech industry has been buzzing about the cloud for years — and for a good reason. Whether it’s through the Apple-sanctioned iCloud or third-party option like Dropbox, the cloud is easily a businessperson’s best friend. At a moderate cost — $9.99 a month for 50GB on Dropbox — the memory and capacity of your iPad increases dramatically. Not to mention the benefit of the ability to maintain real-time sync with other computers and devices. So, if you’re cut off from a project at the last-minute, and you’re rushing out of your work office to catch a plane or meet with a client, you can just drop your files into the cloud and pick up where you left off once you get to your destination.

If you’re looking to forgo your laptop in place of a tablet altogether, you simply can’t do it without a functional and helpful cloud. Even at its highest price point, the iPad alone only comes with as much standard memory as a regular MacBook Air. There’s no better way to keep your iPad running smoothly than to store all of your files online rather than within the tablet itself.

2. Make Sure You Can Go Offline

A lot of what makes an iPad slick and sexy is its seamless browsing design. But, the iPad is not the iPhone: Unless you’re willing to scale up a ways to get unlimited 4G access (not to mention the cost of the contract), you’re likely to only have access to the Internet when you’re Wi-Fi enabled. That can be a huge time-suck for those who are looking for ease and accessibility when they’re onboard a flight or simply without a hotspot.

Enter Instapaper. This app serves as the ultimate bookmark: Just click the “Read Later” bookmarklet on your browser — or email a link to your Instapaper account — to add item to your Instapaper account so that you can view it any time on Instapaper, even while you’re offline. The best part is that you can bookmark nearly anything, including long emails and online PDFs, so you’ll never have to kick yourself for being unable to respond to an important business document because you’re indisposed.

3. Mix and Match the Functions of an Office Suite

There are two truths about simple office suite software on the iPad: They can be some of the most expensive apps you’ll buy for your tablet, and the inexpensive alternatives can feel, well, lacking. That’s why it’s best to analyze exactly what you use your office suite for the most, and then pick the app that does those things best.

For example, a simple writing app like CleanWriter would be ideal for someone who relies heavily on docs for simple writing duties like blogs and emails. However, those who are looking for bells and whistles, such as photo placement, should spend the extra cash for Pages. Same thing for spreadsheet apps: If you’re looking at spreadsheets rather than creating or editing them full-time, you may be better off sticking with an annotation app like GoodReader instead of spending double for Numbers. The nice thing about the iPad is that it lets you pick and choose — don’t be afraid to tailor your app set to suit your needs rather than loading up on a bunch of “just in case” apps.

4. Splurge on an Industry-Specific App

The best time to spend money is when you’re getting top-shelf products to help make your business run more smoothly. There are multiple industry-specific applications that can be invaluable to your iPad suite, and it’s best to pick the absolute best option out there — even if it means digging a little deeper into your pockets.

For example, independent freelancers would do well spending the extra money on an invoicing app like Invoice2Go that would help keep track of time and clients. If you deal largely in contracts or reports, then a PDF manager like PDF Reader Pro will be a must on your list.

Everyone is different, and every work style is different. So optimization, in the end, comes down to personalization. The more you think about what you need to run your business, the more useful your tablet will be to you.

More Small Business Resources From OPEN Forum:

- Should Small Businesses Follow Everyone Back on Twitter?
- Are You Falling into the Pricing Trap?
- How to Innovate for Top Social Media Sites

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, hidesy

More About: business productivity, features, ipad, mashable, open forum

15 Hilarious Sports Parody Twitter Accounts

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 01:50 PM PDT

1. @NotBillWalton

NBA legend and hardcore Grateful Dead fan, Bill Walton is known for his sometimes curious verbiage and his philosophical take on the game of basketball. This account takes full advantage.

Click here to view this gallery.

Sports and Twitter, sitting in a tree…

The microblogging network and the sporting world have been a natural fit pretty much since Twitter was born. NBA players were among its earliest big-name adopters. Today, athletes and reporters break sports news on the network every day. It’s also a key way for stars to build modern marketing potential. Plus, passionate fans need a public outlet in which to gloat, commiserate and talk trash, right?

So it’s only natural that a plethora of fake sports-themed Twitter accounts have popped up over the years, too. Some have already come and gone — @LeBronJamesEgo, for example. But there are plenty of great ones still providing laughs for social media-savvy sports fans.

SEE ALSO: 10 Best Spoof Twitter Accounts of 2011 | Twitter Parodies: 9 Top Literary Fakes

Here, we provide 10 of the funniest sports parody Twitter accounts from around the web. The Bill Walton Trip posts goofy musings and opinions from the legendary center, who doubles as the world’s tallest Deadhead. Fake accounts represent the micro level of pro athletics, too — there’s one devoted to an NHL coach’s awesome moustache. Parody accounts even transcend space and time; one represents an 1800s baseball player who tweets as if living in the present day.

Click through the slideshow above for the full rundown. But it’s not easy to collect all the giggle-inducing accounts from around the Twittersphere, so let us know in the comments — who did we miss?

More About: features, Social Media, sports, Twitter

For more Social Media coverage:

The Zombie Apocalypse Is Happening in a U.K. Shopping Mall [VIDEO]

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 12:58 PM PDT

If “blood soaked survival horror” isn’t your idea of a great vacation, stay away from an empty mall in Reading, U.K. where tourists can experience an interactive zombie attack. Zed Events has created a terrifying zombie experience where anyone can battle zombies for four hours for the fee of just $189.

First, 15 fighters are equipped with Airsoft guns and trained on zombie combat. Then they are let loose into adrenaline-inducing horror. There are two parts of the battle: the first involves running for your life from droves of zombies and the second involves video-game like scenarios where you carry out a mission. The story unfolds as players battle zombies– meaning every move could be your last.

“This will not just [be] about shooting zombies, ammunition will be severely limited with only a few opportunities to get more,” notes the website. “As a survivor you will need nerves of steel, speed and brain power if you are to fight your way through the zombie horde to safety.”

The zombie fight is inspired by movies like Dawn of the Dead, and video games such as Resident Evil.

The 250,000 square foot mall in Reading is about 30 minutes outside of London. Anyone interested in playing this apocalyptic game has until this summer to get in on the zombie action, after which the mall may be demolished. No word on what, if anything, this zombie battle is promoting, but one thing is for sure — people love being scared by zombies.

The company created a similar concept at an abandoned mansion in Cheshire.

Would you visit this zombie mall? Tell us in the comments.

More About: Apocolypse, U.K., zombies

6 Apps Worth Downloading This Week

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 11:56 AM PDT

1. Roamz

Click here to view this gallery.

This week brought with it a ton of new apps. The most notable of this week’s app additions is Rovio’s newest installment of Angry Birds, which takes our favorite birds into space where they once again battle their mortal enemies: the pigs.

Also among our favorites from the week is an app that helps you find cool events and sights to see based on where you are right now using real-time information and photos from Foursquare, Instagram, and Facebook.

Once you find out where all the fun is, another app that launched this week will let you invite all your friends to join you and see what they’re up to, and another will help you share photos of the event with your friends via email, text, or social networks complete — with added text.

If you’re not up for going out, a new app allows you to watch high-definition video of full concerts from popular artists on your smartphone or tablet. If you decide to stay in and watch a concert tonight rather than hit your friend’s birthday party, another app will let you send a real box of chocolates, bottle of wine, or even a cab ride home to your friend via SMS, email, or Facebook without needing to know his or her address.

Check out the gallery for a closer look at our top six apps from the week. Have a favorite app of your own from this week? Let us know in the comments.

More About: apps, Facebook, instagram, Mobile

Top 10 Twitter Pics of the Week

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 10:36 AM PDT

1. Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot and killed in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26. The unarmed boy was walking home from a local 7-Eleven store when he was killed by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman. Prior to the shooting, Zimmerman reported Martin was "behaving suspiciously." The volunteer crime watcher allegedly shot Trayvon in "self-defense." Trayvon's death prompted international outcry. On March 21, thousands attended the "Million Hoodies March" in NYC to demand justice for Trayvon. This picture shows three children at the march's starting point in Union Square Park. It was posted to Twitter by photojournalist @adallos (700+ followers). #trayvonmartin

Click here to view this gallery.

Looking for the most explosively popular Twitter pictures that spread all over the world during the past seven days? You’ve come to the right place.

This week, we break through an important milestone: This is the first time we’ve analyzed more than 50 million Twitter pictures, narrowing it down to the most impressive 10.

And what notable pictures we have found for you this week! Using the inimitable algorithm developed by our illustrious partners at Skylines, we found pics spanning topics huge and trivial, subjects profound and humorous, plus everything in between. See for yourself.

In case you missed them, here are last week's Top 10 Twitter Pics.

More About: Skylines, Top 10 Twitter Pics, Twitter

Social Media and Trayvon Martin: Why Did It Take So Long to Care?

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 10:06 AM PDT

Trayvon Martin

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

We're all talking about Trayvon Martin now. But why did it take so long, and where was social media when Martin's family needed it most?

As I write this, Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old African American teenager who was shot and killed in Florida by a neighborhood watchman is the Number 11 trend in Google Search Trends (which measures what people are searching for now). Number One? Kim Kardashian Flour Bomb. If the Internet and social media is a reflection of us, then it's a sorry reflection, indeed.

On Twitter, the trend for "trayvonmartin,” was, according to Trendistic, virtually undetectable until March 17, almost a month after the teenager was shot on Feb. 26.

In February and March there was relatively little national news about the shooting; early reports like this one on Trayvon Martin’s shooting offer few details and do not even question why the shooter was not arrested. Social media was focused on the Oscars (Martin was shot that same night) and new technology flowing out of Mobile World Congress. It took weeks for the #JusticeforTrayvon hashtag to emerge.

It appears the social outrage didn’t start until national media began reporting on the shooting and Trayvon Martin’s family called for the arrest of George Zimmerman, the man who, according to police, admitted shooting the boy. A lengthy story on Huffington Post about the controversy has around 600 tweets (it was shared over 6,000 times on Facebook) and there’s no call-to-action hashtag included in most of the retweets I saw.

In other words, more than a week after the shooting, it had not become an online movement. I get it — there was other news going on and sometimes it takes a while for the real-world outrage to convert into social action. Plus, it took a while for details, like the 911 calls made shortly after the shooting or Trayvon's last phone call between him and his girlfriend made moments before he was shot, to emerge. These revelations helped fuel new outrage, which again began to generate fresh calls for action in the social space.

One of the few voices shouting loudly, clearly and consistently for “Justice for Trayvon” was CNN Commentator Roland Martin. His voluminous Twitter stream is full of Trayvon commentary, going back at least as far as March 12.

TrayvonMartin as a Trend on Twitter

Yet even as late as last week, #TrayvonMartin was little more than a blip on Twitter. Things started to change on Sunday and the hashtag has steadily risen in prominence throughout the week. Another hashtag #justicefortrayvon has followed a similar trajectory.

In the last 48 hours two events have helped propel the Trayvon Martin case to the forefront of social media conversation. First, Fox news commentator Geraldo Rivera blamed the hoodie Trayvon Martin was wearing for the teen's death. "I am urging the parents of black and Latin youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies: I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was," Rivera said. (He later apologized for the comment.)

President Obama’s comments on the Whitehouse lawn also helped boost the social conversation. "If I had a son he would look like Trayvon," Obama said.

These two events reignited passion online. Soon I saw dozens of tweets making reference to "hoodies". Some were angry, others used humor to point out the ridiculousness of Rivera's statement. On Trendistic, the word "hoodie" skyrocketed in prominence at 8AM yesterday morning and shows no signs of slowing down. Obama's statement, which came around noon eastern time, was retweeted over and over again.

Trayvon Martin finally has momentum online. In the time since I started working on this, he moved from the number 11 trend to number nine. Even by the end of yesterday, his search trend still sat far behind Kim Kardashian’s flour bomb (a solid #1), a handful of sports figures, two Whitney Houston trends and The Hunger Games. Al Sharpton, the well-known activist who has stepped in to help spread the message about Trayvon, was briefly ahead of the teen in Google Trends. Looking now, he’s at number 15.

Hoodie as a Trend on TwitterTwitter's own US trends had #UgliestUniform at number 1 — actually number two if you count the promoted hash #FeelAlive. Number 9, in this case, was "Geraldo". No #Trayvon or #TrayvonMartin, but "National Puppy Day,” (which was yesterday) actress Tori Spelling, retired running back Marion Barber and…well, you get the picture.

My son is the same age as Trayvon was. I can't imagine how I would react if this happened to my family, but I know that I'd want the world to know, to share in my outrage. I'd expect social media to spring to action and champion my cause. It took a long time for this case to reach national prominence, but even after it did, it’s been a slow climb to the social explosion it became this week.

It would be ridiculous to expect people to stop searching for and tweeting about everyday, mundane and entertaining events while Trayvon’s family waits for action. On the other hand, when national figures like Steve Jobs and Whitney Houston die, all platforms turn to talk about their passing. When an unarmed African American teen is shot, the outrage, no matter how great, is still not enough to dominate the social landscape.

I don't know what exactly this says about us as a social media culture, but I don't think it's anything good.

More About: Google, Search, trayvon martin, trends, Twitter

For more Social Media coverage:

Former Major Leaguer Starts Fundraising Site With Youth Sports Focus

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 09:28 AM PDT

Need a uniform? Need funds to travel to a tournament? How about money for college? Try asking your Twitter followers or Facebook friends. A new fundraising website, SimpleWayToFundraise, launched this week in beta mode. The site was created by former professional baseball player Jason Romano, who says money for sports tournaments was often difficult to come by when he was a youth sports player.

“We didn’t grow up with much money and you have to travel to tournaments across the country,” he said.

These days, if teens want a shot at making the major leagues or playing college baseball, they have to play travel baseball and complete in pricy tournaments to get noticed by recruiters.

“The low income families can’t afford to play travel baseball,” Romano said.

Having car washes and selling door-to-door can be dangerous and time consuming, Romano says. Online fundraising is where the money’s at.

The online fundraising websites space is a crowded one. There’s DonorsChoose, Causes, Crowdrise, Kickstarter and many, many others.

Romano says what sets his website apart is the fact it is simple to use and has a sports bent. He said he wants it to be the go-to site when parents, kids or teams think about avenues to raise money for sports.
Technically, anyone who needs to raise money can use the site, Romano says, but his passion is helping youth sports players.

SimpleWayToFundraise officially launches next week.

Here’s how it works: Create a page and link it to your PayPal account. Write a little blip about yourself (or your child), why you’re fundraising and how much money you’ll need. You can add sponsors to the page, too. Then you’ll get a custom link you can email out to friends and family, tweet and post on your Facebook Timeline.

Donations can be made in any amount — there is no minimum and no maximum — but the site does feature buttons for donations in the amounts of $25, $50 and $100. Donors can also be anonymous if they’d like.

Travel sports usually include showcases and tournaments where college recruiters look for top talent. These events cost about $300-$400 each. That’s in addition to unforms (about $150), bats and equipment, and paying just to be on a traveling youth sports team (about $800-$1,200).

“The typical family, they probably spend about $4,000-$6,000 for one child for one summer” of travel baseball, according to Romano.

Romano played for the Dodgers, Rockies, Rays, Reds and Rangers during his 12-year career. With travel baseball being as expensive as it is these day, Romano says if he were a youth now, he wouldn’t have been discovered.

“I had a chance to play professional baseball and live my dream,” he said.

Romano’s been collecting research and talking with numerous sports players for the past two years to figure out how to best develop the site. He’s funding the project himself.

Currently, there are about 100 fundraising pages. Romano says he hopes to reach 5,000 fundraising pages by late summer and eventually wants to have 100,000 pages. Right now, the average donation is around $50, and the average fundraising campaign earns about $1,200-$1,300, he said.

What do you think about SimpleWayToFundraise? Would you use it? Tell us in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, skodonnell

More About: Baseball, fundraising, Social Good

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Pinterest Updates Privacy Policy, Terms of Service

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 08:59 AM PDT

The world’s 12 million pinning addicts have some changes headed their way.

Pinterest users will be held to new terms of service and have to follow updated acceptable use and privacy policies beginning April 6.

A Saturday morning email to users of the image-based social network from Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann sheds some light on the reasoning behind the changes. It reads in part:

Over the last few weeks, we've been working on an update to our Terms. When we first launched Pinterest, we used a standard set of Terms.  We think that the updated Terms of Service, Acceptable Use Policy, and Privacy Policy are easier to understand and better reflect the direction our company is headed in the future.

The changes follow an influx of complaints and inquiries about the legality of Pinterest users essentially copying and pasting pictures, regardless of copyright, from the Internet onto pinboards.

In the notice to users, Pinterest also responds to questions about the bookmarking site making money from pins. Pinterest has only acknowledged profitting from pins directing users to buy products on merchant sites.

“Our original Terms stated that by posting content to Pinterest you grant Pinterest the right for us to sell your content,” reads the email. “Selling content was never our intention and we removed this from our updated Terms.”

Another addition to the all-public pinboard system will be private pinning. When that will become available is not yet known, however.

Silbermann said a Pinterest API is on the way, too, meaning we’ll likely see more Pinterest-related applications soon. The API will allow developers to build applications using or revolving around Pinterest. Consumers will be more likely to show their image-and-text pins on third-party websites, and developers are already tracking the release of the API. An unofficial Pinterest API group on Facebook has more than 870 members.

There is also a shift on what users can pin. New pinning restrictions cover content that “[Pinterest] deem[s] to be hateful, violent, harmful, abusive, racially or ethnically offensive, defamatory, etc.” Pictures relating to harm, death, disability or disfigurement to yourself, other people or animals are prohibited.

SEE ALSO: The Copyright Question: How to Protect Yourself on Pinterest

The updated terms and policies attempt to bring the answers users have been seeking to the forefront. Pinterest explains they made the usage guidelines bare-bones to facilitate comprehension. Sections are numbered with several explainers.

The old terms of service simply laid out sections like how Pinterest works, general prohibitions, liability and eligibility. Now, there are specifications to how the company and other users can use content that is posted publicly.

There is also a new section about terminating accounts, which details how long your pins will stay on the network. The answer? “Pinterest may retain your User Content for a commercially reasonable period of time for backup, archival, or audit purposes.”

Expect more changes to Pinterest as the social network continues to grow in popularity.

“Like everything at Pinterest, these updates are a work in progress that we will continue to improve upon.”

Do you think these changes are good for Pinterest? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Business, pinterest, Social Media

Researchers Say Memories Can Be Relived, Not Just Recalled [VIDEO]

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 08:34 AM PDT

Have you ever wanted to relive one of your most treasured memories? Not just think about the memory, but actually relive it? According to new research coming out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, you can.

Neuroscientists at MIT have discovered that memories are physical and can be reactivated. This means that instead of just recalling a memory, scientists can now help you reconstruct them artificially by activating certain parts of your brain.

This reactivation theory isn’t new — it was just never proved before now. In an early 1900s experiment on epilepsy patients, neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield found that if he stimulated certain parts of the hippocampus — the part of the brain in charge of short and long-term memories — some of his patients would vividly recall past events.

Neuroscientists at MIT were able to test Penfield’s experiment further and prove his findings in a study conducted on lab mice. For this study, scientists first found the cells that became activated while a lab mouse was learning something. Then, they determined the genes that activated those cells. Finally, they paired those genes with another gene for a light-activated protein. After setting up this technique, the scientists were able to shine tiny pulses of light onto those neurons to activate the protein.

This process allowed the scientists to actually recreate the memory — artificially, that is.

As Steve Ramirez, co-author of the study, put it, “We wanted to artificially activate a memory without the usual required sensory experience, which provides experimental evidence that. . .even ephemeral phenomena, such as personal memories, reside in the physical machinery of the brain.”

Scientific jargon aside, this basically allows scientists to use light to replay moments in your mind.

Scientists are hopeful this technique could help in studying brain disorders. “The more we know about the moving pieces that make up our brains,” Ramirez says, “the better equipped we are to figure out what happens when brain pieces break down.”

What do you think of this new research? Would you like to relive a memory? Let us know in the comments.

More About: research, Science

Inbox-Sanity Tool Boomerang Hits 1 Million Downloads

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 07:07 AM PDT

More than one million people have downloaded Boomerang for Gmail, an inbox extension that helps schedule outgoing email messages and allows users to re-receive important incoming messages at a convenient time.

Its creator, Baydin, tells Mashable that the company became profitable for the first time last month, just before passing the 1-million-downloads mark.

The free inbox tool installs a button in Gmail from which users can schedule outgoing emails for optimal times or keep tabs on emails they receive. Instead of starring important emails, users can “Boomerang” them — scheduling the emails to return as new messages at either a specific time or if nobody responds.

The Gmail extension launched in 2010 shortly after an Outlook version of the same tool, but it took off faster. Baydin CEO Alexander Moore says it hit 70,000 downloads within a week after launch, and its recent growth accelerated when the company started a promotion that rewards users for referring friends with the chance to win prizes such as T-shirts and Amazon Kindles.

Though most of the 1 million downloads of Boomerang for Gmail were free, Moore says that 10% of users opt to pay either $4.99 or $14.99 each month for access to premium features such as a mobile version, notes and the option to schedule recurring messages.

As email creeps further into our work days and holidays alike, Boomerang isn’t the only inbox management tool that has taken off.

Email add-on Rapportive, which shows social data about contacts as you email them, was acquired by LinkedIn last month. Other email extensions that specialize in managing unruly inboxes include ToutApp, Xobni, Sanebox and Taskforce.

Moore says Baydin plans to build a suite of email extensions, the next of which will involve a calendar.

“Email is (and will continue to be) the medium where we share information-rich messages, coordinate schedules, and organize our priorities,” he says. “That’s why in the workplace email is more important than ever.”

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, gavran333

More About: Boomerang, email, gmail, trending

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