Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Facebook’s Advice to Marketers: Post Stuff About Your Brand”

Tuesday, 15 May 2012 by Irwan K Ch

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Facebook’s Advice to Marketers: Post Stuff About Your Brand”

Facebook’s Advice to Marketers: Post Stuff About Your Brand

Posted: 15 May 2012 04:48 AM PDT

It’s no secret that Facebook has decided the best way to spur more advertising on the platform is to encourage marketers to use their brand Pages more effectively.

With that goal in mind, Facebook looked at postings on 23 brand Pages over one month to see which posts did the best. The upshot: When you talk about things related to your brand, you’ll get more engagement.

For example, a post by a cruise line marketer (Facebook did not disclose which brands exactly were involved in the study) stating “I decided to go on my first cruise because ____,” performed better than one that said, “Hang in there everybody. Monday will be over before we know it.”

“Topics related to brand or about the brand were significant predictors of increased engagement,” says Sean Bruich, head of measurement at Facebook. “When pages post about topics related to brands, they increase engagement.”

The advice may seem obvious, but Bruich points out that many brands try to stay relevant by “just publishing the latest meme.”

Facebook’s other advice to brands is to use photos, albums and videos to generate more “Likes” and to post a clear call to action (“Like this if…”) to increase comments. The company also confirmed the conventional wisdom that asking a question in a post will lead to more engagement.

Though the study took place during the period in which brands switched over to Timeline, the research didn’t delve into the topic. Despite that, some researchers, including Simply Measured, have seen a big difference in engagement with the new platform.

Facebook’s focus on getting brands to use their Pages better coincided with the introduction of Timeline for users last fall. (Timeline for brands just became available in late February.) Facebook believes that more engaging brand Pages will become the main focus for advertisers on the platform and that amplifying status updates and other brand Page activity will be a viable alternative to traditional advertising.

With Facebook’s IPO set to hit later this week, not everyone agrees that Facebook can herd big marketers over to the new platform. Nate Elliott, a Forrester Research analyst, called Facebook’s latest ad strategy a “tiny evolution from its existing ad model” and noted that “companies in industries from consumer electronics to financial services tell us they're no longer sure Facebook is the best place to dedicate their social marketing budget – a shocking fact given the site's dominance among users.”

Image courtesy of Flickr, GOIABA (Goiabarea)

More About: Advertising, Facebook, Marketing

Twitter’s Rise in the UK and Two Other Stories You Need to Know

Posted: 15 May 2012 04:26 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 wha’'s happening in the digital world. Today, we’ve found three stories that’ll be a great starter for your day.

Twitter Reaches 10 Million Active Users in the UK

One year after it opened shop in London, Twitter now has 10 million active users in the UK, 80% of them mobile, The Next Web reports.

On the business front, more than 140 UK brands, including Adidas and Marks and Spencer, have advertised on Twitter’s platform after the launch of Promoted Products. Twitter’s London office currently employs more than 30 employees and is still hiring.

Social Media Ad Spending to Reach $9.8 Billion by 2016

Social media advertising revenues will grow from $3.8 billion in 2011 to $9.8 billion in 2016 according to BIA/Kelsey’s U.S. Local Media Forecast. In the US alone, social media advertising revenues are expected to grow from $840 million in 2011 to $3.1 billion in 2016.

LG Optimus 4X HD Comes to Europe in June

LG has announced its Optimus 4X HD smartphone will be available in Western Europe in June. The Android 4.0 device sports an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, a 4.7-inch True HD IPS display and an 8-megapixel camera.

After the European launch, Optimus 4X HD will become available in Asia, CIS as well as South and Central America.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mattjeacock

More About: features, first to know series, LG Optimus 4X HD, mashable, Social Media, Twitter, uk

Facebook Confirms New $34-38 Share Price

Posted: 15 May 2012 04:23 AM PDT

Facebook ipo Ticker symbol FB

Facebook on Tuesday confirmed numerous reports that it was going to raise its share price in light of heavy demand before its IPO.

The company, which had originally set the price between $28 and $35, now has put the range at $34 to $38, according to an amended S-1 it filed Tuesday morning. In addition, Facebook is offering another 50 million shares in the company, bringing to total to 337 million for a maximum haul of $12.7 billion at the high end of the range. If Facebook’s shares sell at that price (or higher), then the company’s valuation will be well north of $100 billion.

Facebook’s share price hike shows that a report by Blooomberg stating that the IPO was meeting “weaker-than-expected demand” from institutional investors was likely off the mark.

The long-awaited IPO is set for Friday, according to reports. On Monday, Facebook secured the ticker symbol “FB” on Nasdaq.

More About: facebook ipo, trending

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Why IT Departments Should Let Employees Use Their Own Devices

Posted: 15 May 2012 03:03 AM PDT

Matt McLarty is the vice president of client solutions for Layer 7 Technologies, a provider of API management solutions. Prior to Layer 7, Matt led technical sales for and worked extensively as an enterprise architect in the financial services industry. Follow him @MattMcLartyBC.

It’s surprising to hear that there’s still any debate as to whether companies should allow employees to use their personal mobile devices at work. It’s particularly perplexing when IT leaders are the ones who reject the idea. That’s because the statistics are overwhelmingly on the side of bringing your own devices to work, also known as BYOD.

In a recent survey, 74% of IT workers responded that BYOD is allowed in their workplace. Another survey found that 67% of North American iPad owners are using the devices in office, and IBM claims 80,000 BYOD users in its fold. This is why CIOs and CTOs must be leaders in this movement, not barriers.

Being a leader means being prepared. IT has a great opportunity to help their business partners realize the productivity and cost benefits of BYOD while mitigating the new risks, most notably around security. Here are five steps that IT leaders can take to prepare for a positive BYOD transformation.

1. Innovate with Apps

Consumers have become accustomed to the purpose-built, highly-usable experience of their personal mobile devices and these preferences are carrying over into the workplace. This strong connection is fostered more by the mobile apps that they use than the physical device itself. The good news is that apps offer the greatest vehicle for business productivity gains and cost savings, but only if they are developed in the right way.

As with consumer apps, business mobile apps can and should be engineered to leverage the native capabilities of the device and to provide a rich user experience. For example, an auto insurance claims examiner who used to transcribe a claimant’s statement on to paper, take photos of the vehicle, and have the claimant fill out various forms can now use a mobile app to record the claimant’s testimony, photograph the vehicle and capture data with drop-down menus all through an integrated and digitized flow. This results in a faster and cheaper process, higher quality data, and more satisfied clients and employees.

It will be tempting for IT to simply uplift the existing user experience of current business applications to the mobile context, but that approach would negate the potential benefits of enterprise apps. Companies like WillowTree Apps and Taptera offer good examples of enterprise apps built the right way. Enterprise IT leaders should follow this approach in order to realize the full BYOD opportunity.

2. Plan for Multi-Platform

One of the realities of BYOD is that there will be multiple device types and mobile platforms in the workplace. More importantly, as opposed to the web app world where browsers were viewed as commodities, there are enough differences between iOS, Android, Windows, and Blackberry to warrant consideration when developing mobile apps. In order to get the full potential out of apps, it is necessary to accept that not everything can be thin client. HTML5 is powerful, and will likely have more prominence in enterprise than it currently does in the consumer app space — where the platforms are competing outright.

The iPad is emerging as a unique business instrument with capabilities beyond what a smartphone can deliver, and its dominance of the tablet market warrants even more unique handling. As a result, there are apps that will be built only for the iPad, and that leverage functions only available on the iPad. In the insurance example, the claims examiner could collect the claimant’s form data more easily with a tailored tablet app than with an app normalized for all mobile devices. IT leaders need to accept that platform-specific features are a reality in order to fulfill on the promise of enterprise mobility, but HTML5 and other common components can maximize development re-use and contain cost overruns.

3. Re-use Your Existing Logic and Data

The most fundamental way companies can maximize their investments in mobile apps is to build on top of the computing logic and data that already exists within the enterprise. Some mobile app developers have built their own back end applications and data repositories to service their apps, but this approach creates duplicate costs to run, maintain, and secure. A better approach is to open up the existing enterprise business logic and data through network-accessible Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). APIs have already been popularized on the mobile web used by consumer apps, through standards like REST and JSON.

In order to utilize consistent, customer-centric processing across all business channels, many companies moved towards a service-oriented architecture (SOA) in the last decade. This approach provides a solid foundation for enterprise mobile apps, but needs to be adapted to fit the lingua franca of the new paradigm. This can be done using an API Proxy that can map from SOAP to REST and XML to JSON, and also filter and cache data in order to limit the workload on the battery-operated mobile device.

Revisiting the insurance example, a big part of the productivity gain in having the claims examiner use the app remotely is that he or she can access their enterprise data in real-time. That means that they can have an up-to-the-minute view of the claim and the claimant, and also transmit the data they capture immediately to headquarters. IT leaders who are able to harness their existing business logic and data will be able to deliver their enterprise mobile apps more quickly and save money doing so.

4. Secure the New Perimeter

Of course, given that the data in play for enterprise apps is often the most sensitive data in the company, security is paramount. Furthermore, given that the mobile devices in use for BYOD are personally-owned devices running a mix of personal and business apps, the API border that links mobile apps to corporate systems becomes the new security perimeter for the company. A blend of access control, data protection, and auditing is needed in order to protect the accessibility of the APIs.

OAuth is the security standard of choice in mobile app-API integration. OAuth supports a number of use cases for authentication, authorization, and federated security, all packaged in a lightweight, token-based approach suitable for energy-conscious mobile devices. Just as for the data protocols, an API proxy can be used to adapt the OAuth protocols to the security policies and technologies that exist within the enterprise infrastructure.

Once secured, the APIs that serve the enterprise mobile apps become even more powerful. Many can be re-used for customer-facing apps. In the insurance example, the original claim could have been filed by the claimant using a smartphone app that included photos and digitized form data, through many of the same APIs that enable the claim examiner’s iPad app. IT leaders who implement flexible security for their APIs will position their company’s well for the benefits of enterprise and consumer mobility.

5. Embrace the Cloud

With a secure API perimeter that enables both consumer and enterprise mobile apps, companies are well-positioned to leverage the multitude of services that exist beyond their borders in the cloud. SaaS APIs can be combined with enterprise APIs to build a rich cloud platform for mobile app empowerment. The separation of concerns achieved through the secure API perimeter addresses the biggest risks associated with the cloud, data leakage, and unauthorized access.

In this scenario, the claimant who files the insurance claim can utilize their network operator’s geo-location API, or even the Google maps API to capture precise location information regarding the claim, as can the claim examiner. This resulting ecosystem of highly usable mobile apps, accessible but secure enterprise APIs, and multi-dimensional cloud services creates a technological canvass for innovative IT leaders to advance their companies immediately and well into the future.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, TommyL

More About: cloud storage, contributor, enterprise software, features, mobile apps

Apple Releases Flashback Fix for OS X Leopard

Posted: 15 May 2012 01:34 AM PDT


After issuing similar fixes for Lion and Snow Leopard in April, Apple has now released an Flashback removal security update for OS X Leopard.

Apple describes the update as follows: “This update removes the most common variants of the Flashback malware. If the Flashback malware is found, a dialog will notify you that malware was removed. In some cases, the update may need to restart your computer in order to completely remove the Flashback malware.”

Flashback is a malicious program which uses a Java vulnerability to track Mac users. At one point, more than 600,000 Macs were estimated to be infected.

The 1.23MB Flashback removal update can be found here.

Apple also released a 1.11MB Leopard update which disables versions of Adobe Flash Player which don’t have the latest security updates. You can find this update here.

More About: apple, flashback, OS X Leopard

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This Bot Turns Your Tweets into Rhyming Couplets

Posted: 15 May 2012 12:53 AM PDT

You're just a shiver looking for a spine. one hundrend forty thousand twenty nine Love watching tennis on a rainy day Do feelings ever really go away?

Click here to view this gallery.

Meet Pentametron, a website and Twitter account that is a literature nerd’s dream. It is a bot that uses an algorithm to find and retweet rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter.

The bot retweets sequential tweets that fit into the ten-syllable alternating-stress meter commonly used in Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, complete with rhyming couplets. It also posts them on

According to Gawker, the bot first “strips the tweet of emoticons and ASCII art. It then cross-references each word against the CMU Pronouncing Dictionary… If the tweet is in iambic pentameter, Pentametron retweets it; if not, it moves on.”

“I always find some new funny or accidentally profound thing there to enjoy,” Ranjit Bhatnagar, the creator of the bot tells Gawker.

“It’s fascinating to me that on the internet of free phone and video calls, one of the most popular sites just moves words around. Lots and lots of words. One of the goals of Pentametron is to show how weird and interesting this giant flood of language is.”

More About: Twitter, viral

AMD Launches Ultrabook-Ready Trinity Chips

Posted: 14 May 2012 09:02 PM PDT


AMD just unveiled its latest processor, called Trinity. Meant for Ultrabooks, regular laptops and all-in-one designs, the new chip boasts better multimedia capabilities, at less power than the previous generation, Llano.

With Trinity, AMD aims to satisfy both PC gamers in need of a mobile system as well as anyone who works with professional multimedia software like Photoshop or Sony Vegas. AMD says Trinity’s performance on a per-watt basis is actually double Llano’s, although the overall boost is about 29%.

Because of its compactness and lighter power demands, Trinity is made for three types of PCs in mind: Ultrabooks, all-in-one desktop models and traditional laptops. Hewlett-Packard‘s recently unveiled Sleekbooks, for example, will have Trinity chips as an option.

AMD packed Trinity with many enhancements to beef up the multimedia experience — applications that are heavily focused on photos or video. Trinity’s Media Accelerator tries to improve video playback with color adjustments, noise reduction and image stabilization of shaky video. But even better, the chip can prioritize video streaming over poor Wi-Fi connection, ensuring you don’t get that “buffering” message unless you absolutely have to.

SEE ALSO: The Best, Worst and Craziest Ultrabooks From CES 2012 [PICS]

On the production side, AMD says Trinity has more than 30 hardware-accelerated features for Adobe Photoshop, speeding up certain filters — like Blur, Warping and Liquify — on high-resolution photos. Besides that, Trinity also supports HD video chats with up to four people.

Trinity is a 32-nanometer chip technology (the measurement refers to the distance between discrete elements on the chip), which, in terms of Moore’s Law, is a generation behind Intel‘s recently unveiledIvy Bridge tech, a 22-nanometer tech. However, AMD claims Trinity performs better than comparable Intel processors, and AMD components tend to offer better value.

Laptops equipped with Trinity have the potential to enjoy up to 12 hours of battery life, AMD says, but obviously that will depend greatly the other parts of the hardware (notably the screen) and how it’s used. There are five different models of the chip, three quad-core and two dual-core. They run on power supplies between 17 watts (for Ultrabooks) to 35 watts (for all-in-ones or laptops).

For more on Trinity, check out the gallery below and AMD’s site.

Does Trinity make you excited to get an AMD-powered PC or laptop? Share your thoughts in the comments.

AMD Trinity, Chip Design

The Trinity Processor combines AMD's "Piledriver" cores with a variety of technologies, including discrete graphics and media acceleration.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: AMD, Gaming, intel, laptops, Processors

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What People Really Want vs. What They Share on Social Media

Posted: 14 May 2012 08:25 PM PDT

Take a look at someone’s stream of social media updates. Can you determine what they really want out of life?

Now ask them point blank about their aspirations. Will you get the same answers?

Maybe not, according to the comparison below. Social media monitoring company NetBase put 365 days worth of its own data about online conversations up against a recent Harris poll that asked, “What is the one thing you want right now?”

The results show that people are generally emotional sharers when it comes to social media, but they are much more logical when asked a direct question. For instance, 80% of the “I want _____” updates were about food, whereas 50% of the survey responses were related to personal finance (money, financial security, a new car).

Interestingly, when comparing the responses of men and women, there is slightly more overlap when listening to social than when asking survey questions.

Check out the comparison below, along with some additional social consumer insights from NetBase.

More About: gender, infographics, sentiment analysis, Social Media

SpaceX Capsule Slated to Soar to Space Station on Saturday

Posted: 14 May 2012 07:55 PM PDT

SpaceX Dragon

SpaceX announced that it is gearing up to launch its Dragon capsule toward the International Space Station on Saturday. If successful, the trip will mark the first time a private spacecraft has ever docked at NASA’s habitable artificial satellite.

Spaceflight company Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) will be sending the robotic capsule attached to its Falcon 9 rocket into orbit on a test mission to the orbital outpost. The launch date is now set for nearly three weeks after the capsule was originally slated to soar into space.

The rocket will fly on Saturday, May 19 from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 4:55 a.m. ET. It was originally scheduled to launch on Monday, April 30 but delays related to the spacecraft’s docking software pushed back the launch date.

SEE ALSO: SpaceX ISS Launch Delayed Again

Although no one will be on board the Dragon, two astronauts at the International Space Station will open a hatch to attach the capsule to the site. According to SpaceX, this will take “extreme precision.”

“After launching from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Dragon will begin its journey to the space station,” SpaceX said in a press release. “Just under 10 minutes after launch, Dragon will reach its preliminary orbit, deploy its solar arrays and begin a carefully choreographed series of engine firings to reach the station.”

After a series of “complicated” tests, the space station will determine if the Dragon capsule is ready to dock at the station. Dragon will then spend about two weeks attached to the space station.

The move is part of an effort to test Dragon’s reliability to transfer supplies to the station. SpaceX eventually plans to send passengers into the Earth’s low orbit.

The Dragon spacecraft is expected to land in the Pacific Ocean two weeks after launch, off the coast of California.

For more information about the launch, check out SpaceX’s video below.

How long do you think it will take for SpaceX to send consumer passengers into space? Would you ever go for a ride on a private spacecraft? Let us know in the comments.

More About: space, SpaceX

10 Super Hi-Res Photos That Will Blow Your Mind

Posted: 14 May 2012 07:28 PM PDT

1. Earth

NASA's updated "Blue Marble" shot is a 121-megapixel single-shot taken from 22,369 miles away by Russian weather satellite Elektro-L No. 1.

Click here to view this gallery.

It’s amazing what DSLRs are capable of capturing today. High resolution has practically become a standard requirement for cameras, and the number of megapixels in images increases substantially every year.

We’ve gathered 10 incredible high resolution photos from all over the world. You’ll have to follow the link to the image host in order to zoom in and out and get the full scope. Some get so close, you can practically see tiny cracks in the pavement.

SEE ALSO: Travel the World With These 10 Time-Lapse Videos

What do you think will be the next breakthrough in camera technology? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Image courtesy of Kyle Porter

More About: digital cameras, DSLR, features, high resolution, photography, pics

Twitter Campaign Donates Your Unused Characters

Posted: 14 May 2012 07:08 PM PDT

Forget old clothing and canned food — you can now donate your unused Twitter characters to a good cause.

A new application called Hashtags4Heroes auto-populates the unused characters in your tweets with messages raising awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), an organization seeking to honor and empower veterans wounded since 9/11.

The Twitter application, launched by WWP supporter Raytheon for Military Appreciation Month, aims to increase visibility of the work being done for injured military service members and their families.

“The number one reason we’re doing this is awareness — it has the potential to influence anyone who uses Twitter,” said Joe Washburn, a former Army sergeant wounded in Baghdad from a car bombing.

“All of your followers will see what you tweet, and hopefully they click on your links.”

The browser plug-in runs in Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Firefox, and the mobile app is available for iOS, Android and BlackBerry browsers.

If you don’t want to set your tweets to autofill for the entire month, you can tweet directly from the Hashtags4Heroes website, which will also add messages in your unused spaces.

SEE ALSO: How the U.S. Military Shares Its Rich History With Facebook Timeline

Raytheon had hoped Hashtags4Heroes would hit 30,000 donated characters before Memorial Day. Just one week after launch, more than 125,000 characters have been filled with Hashtags4Heroes messages. The campaign is now hoping to donate 300,000 characters by May 31.

The most common length of tweets is 28 characters, according to one estimate sited by Raytheon — leaving 112 available for donation in every tweet.

Do you think filling empty characters in tweets is a good way to generate awareness? Sound off in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, MTMCOINS

More About: charity, military, Social Good, Twitter

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Graduate Proposes to Girlfriend During Commencement, Crowd Goes Wild [VIDEO]

Posted: 14 May 2012 06:40 PM PDT

What’s the most “awww”-worthy video of the day? We propose this one: a man proposing marriage to his girlfriend as she crosses the stage at American University’s commencement to receive her diploma.

According to the Washington Post, the couple’s families had encouraged their two college students to wait until after graduation to marry. The couple, meanwhile, say they knew they were meant for each other three months into their Freshman year.

So Sam Miller proposed to Sarah Cooper as quickly after graduation as he could.

Elizabeth Greenstein, an Administrative Coordinator for the Key Executive Leadership Program at American University who was working at the commencement, said the moment was “Very sweet. However, Pres. Kerwin didn’t quite get control of the crowd afterwards.

“My boss said jokingly that if any of our staff gets proposed to tomorrow, we’re fired.”

This isn’t the first time a commencment proposal has found its way to YouTube. Check out the gallery below for more, and let us know in the comments: what’s the sweetest proposal you’ve seen online?

Jamie's Proposal at Saint Michael's Commencement 2010

Jamie Gorton '10 shocked the crowd after he finished his Commencement speech with a heartfelt proposal to his longtime girlfriend and fellow graduate.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: viral videos, YouTube

What Mark Zuckerberg Can Buy With His $1 Billion Windfall [VIDEO]

Posted: 14 May 2012 06:32 PM PDT

Facebook is going on public this week, which means big things for the Menlo Park-based team and even bigger things for its 28-year-old CEO. Mark Zuckerberg is geared to make at least $846 million and as much as $1 billion.

With $1 billion, he can buy more than 6.7 million Betabrand Gray Executive Pinstripe Hoodies — at $148 each. The 100% superfine merino wool hoodies — Randi Zuckerberg approved — were launched after Zuckerberg was criticized for wearing a hoodie during the Facebook IPO roadshow.

SEE ALSO: 10 Giant Things Less Valuable Than Facebook

What would you do with a $1 billion payday? We have some ideas. Watch the video above to see what Zuckerberg can afford after the Facebook IPO launch.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, EdStock

More About: Business, Facebook, facebook ipo

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Assemble Friends for Spontaneous Fun With GiddyUp

Posted: 14 May 2012 06:23 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.

giddyup appName: GiddyUp

Quick Pitch: GiddyUp is a new way to invite friends out to brunch, drinks after work or for any impromptu event.

Genius Idea: The mobile application lets party planners skip long emails and bypass lengthy event invites on social networks. Instead, Giddyup lets users send SMS invitations to their Apple and Android phone contacts.

GiddyUp is a mobile app created by friends Elliot Goldwater and John Zurbach who were looking for a better way to get friends together. Plans often were disrupted when Facebook invites would go unseen or when texts were lost.

“It really was an erosion of patience over time,” said GiddyUp co-founder Goldwater. “We got sick of text messages, emails and calling back and forth trying to get a few friends together. It’s a problem that resonated with everybody.”

Unlike other social-event platforms, GiddyUp uses the contacts list within your phone rather than integrating personal Facebook or Twitter friend lists, which are frequently incomplete. People generally carry the phone numbers of their closest friends and family, say the creators.

“We pull directly from your contacts list, which we think is your truest social network,” he said. “Those are the people you rely on, at the last minute, or on any given Friday to meet up with on a whim.”

Users may be wary about using their phone contacts within the app because of privacy concerns. However, that should be an issue, according to Goldwater. Contacts ultimately stay local to your phone and aren’t uploaded anywhere. All event information — such as your future whereabouts — are also guarded.

“All events and related data are stored safely on our database behind authorization walls,” Goldwater said. “We do not look at or parse through individual’s data.”

The simple phone interface has three tabs — Home, Create and FAQ. On the main page, users can view the events that they will attend and access the individual chat bar within the event invite. The recipients of the SMS invite do not need to download the app to access the details. However, you’ll need to download the app to access the chat feature within the invitation.

GiddyUp App iPhone

Generate a GiddyUp invite by selecting the recipients from the contact list in your Apple or Android phone. Users may include details such as location, date, time and notes.

The app launched two weeks ago after more than a year of development. The team has bootstrapped the project to this point and is now looking for investors.

GiddyUp distinguishes itself from other event-planning apps. The GiddyUp team wanted to build a platform that didn’t require extra time to sign in or download yet another app. As a startup, Goldwater wanted to make sure interested users were able to use the app without waiting for a large number of friends to sign on.

“We tried to lower the hurdles or barriers to user adoption,” Goldwater tells Mashable.

The developers also wanted to introduce the app onto the iOS and Android market at the same time. The creators noted most app developers typically devote time creating one market’s app and completely ignoring users on the other platform.

The team is focused on building their userbase. Future business models may revolve around in-app deals, contextual advertising and lending out the software for different applications in the event-planning field.

“Traditionally you think of Evite, Facebook events and Paperless Posts as the traditional medium for planning events — birthday parties, wedding showers and more formal things,” he said. “What we want to capture is everything from what’s happening later tonight, leading up and including those events.”

Image courtesy of Flickr, karramarro

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: android, application, bizspark, iphone, Mobile

Instagram Camera: This Designer Aims to Turn a Spoof into Reality

Posted: 14 May 2012 06:03 PM PDT

“It’s obvious that people love Instagram,” begins a recent video. “But how are you supposed to share your photos with the 6.95 billion people that aren’t on Instagram?”

The video is a spoof that advertises a real-life Instagram camera. Indeed, Instagram hardware is an easy topic to satirize. The popular photo-sharing app has recently rocketed to 50 million users at the pace of five-million new users per week — leaving in its wake a trail of piggyback services that turn Instagram photos into physical photos, canvas prints and iPhone covers.

But where some of us see a joke, Italian designer Antonio De Rosa sees a viable product.

Earlier this week, De Rosa launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for a real-life Instagram camera, which he calls Socialmatic.

“I believe people will buy this because there is no camera on the market right now that allows us to bring social network power into real life,” De Rosa tells Mashable in an email.

Socialmatic, which for now only exists as a design concept with 3D renderings, would bring both the social aspects of Instagram and its trendy photo filters offline.

The camera would allow users to take photos, apply Instagram filters and print them instantly. Each photo would include the photographer’s Instagram username and a QR code that other Instagram users could scan in order to comment on it or follow the photographer.

In addition to printing Instagram photos, it would allow users to share them as usual, via a Wi-Fi connection.

Socialmatic’s camera body, which would come with two lenses, even looks exactly like Instagram’s app logo. Might Instagram have a problem with that? “They probably will,” De Rosa says, though he has yet to hear from the company.

There is something spoofable about building a specialty piece of hardware for an app that works just fine on a smartphone, but De Rosa thinks a real-world Instagram integration makes sense for three reasons.

“Your phone can’t print the photo,” De Rosa says. “Your phone does not have a double lens system. Your phone is not a ‘social camera.’”

Would you buy a camera to bring Instagram into the physical world? Let us know in the comments.

More About: indiegogo, instagram

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Streaming Video Gives a Mind Blowing Live View of the NBA Playoffs

Posted: 14 May 2012 05:46 PM PDT

Thanks to the magic of streaming video, basketball fans can treat themselves to a free look at the NBA Playoffs as they’ve never seen them before.

How? TNT Overtime. It’s an extension of NBA Playoff games broadcast on TNT (others are carried on ESPN and ABC) that digitally augments the at-home action with multiple camera angles and interactive capabilities via TNT’s website. The feature (click here to launch it) has received surprisingly little publicity since becoming available online earlier this season. But it takes on added value as the playoffs bring games of heightened importance.

TNT Overtime opens to a screen split four ways. One camera focuses on the home team. Another focuses on the away team. A third provides aerial shots from a “Backboard Cam.” The fourth camera — called the “Action Cam” — gives shaky, close up shots from the floor for a more visceral perspective.

While the split screen angles that focus on specific views and aspects of the game are a bonanza for digitally inclined hoops fans, they’re actually only the beginning of where TNT Overtime starts to shine.

SEE ALSO: NBA Is First Sports League to Get 5 Million Twitter Followers

You can make just one feed your fullscreen view. Or you can do that and then pull in one, two or three smaller picture-in-picture windows to just keep an eye on other parts of the game. A voting function lets you weigh on which individual player you’d like the team-specific cameras to shadow for one quarter — a treat in itself for hardcore basketball fans. And a Cover It Live chat window lets fans banter with one another and participate in polls on game action.

After a quick test drive, what was TNT Overtime’s only problematic feature? It’s a little too easy to click on the Linkin Park music video option that’s included in the row of game-tracking cameras.

Have you tried out TNT Overtime? How do you like it? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy Stuck in Customs, Flickr.

More About: NBA, sports, streaming video

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This Is Your Mom on Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 14 May 2012 05:13 PM PDT

Social media: It’s not just for college kids anymore. Families use Facebook to stay in touch across generations. Friends well into middle age share photos on Instagram. There’s even an 80-year-old grandmother on a quest for 80,000 Twitter followers.

But how does social media’s widening reach affect the family unit? The brand-engagement firm GMR Marketing recently polled about 1,000 moms and kids to see how social media has penetrated family life and affected mother and child relationships.

More families have three generations on social media than just one, according to GMR’s findings, speaking again to its increasing ubiquity. But there is a certain awkwardness in having so many family members online.

While more than three-quarters of moms said they’d “definitely” accept a friend request from their child, just 43% of kids said they’d do the same. And twice as many kids and moms — 18% to 9% — said they’d have to hide some photos or other information before making things official on Facebook.

Teenagers are also much more shy about broadcasting their family connections via social media. Nearly twice as many moms as kids — 29% to 16% — said they use public messages on networks such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with family members. Teens prefer to use private messages more than parents do, 39% to 31%.

Check out the infographic below to see the survey’s full results. Are you connected to your child online, and how do you navigate that relationship? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Facebook, infographics, Social Media

How Kickstarter Is Saving Hardware Innovation

Posted: 14 May 2012 04:48 PM PDT

Pebble Technology, the startup behind Pebble Watch, couldn’t find venture capitalists to back it. But within 28 hours of putting the project on Kickstarter, it had raised more than $1 million.

Pebble isn’t the only hardware startup to run into fundraising roadblocks before finding success on Kickstarter.

As Robert Fabricant, a vice president at product design firm Frog, put it in a recent Fast Company article: “It is still damn hard to get a VC to go along with any startup involving hardware, unless you have already locked in distribution with Best Buy or Walmart.”

Kickstarter, meanwhile, favors cool gadgets that can be easily demonstrated in videos over the apps and cloud-based software that have become VC darlings. The top six most popular tech projects on Kickstarter this week are all hardware projects.

SEE ALSO: 9 Essential Steps for a Killer Kickstarter Campaign

But it’s more than just funding opportunities that Kickstarter affords for hardware startups. By exposing new products to an engaged audience early on in their development, it also allows them to develop products more like software companies — proving market demand and incorporating feedback as they go.

Gauging Interest

Dan Provost and Tom Gerhadt set a $10,000 goal for their iPhone tripod mount, Glif. After raising $137,417, they started a company.

“Too many startups begin with an idea for a product that they think people want,” writes Eric Ries in the Lean Startup. “They then spend months, sometimes years, perfecting that product without ever showing the product, even in a very rudimentary form, to the prospective customer.”

Reis’s bestselling book suggests startups release early, incomplete versions of new products and iterate frequently in order to avoid making a large investment in something that nobody wants.

But it’s a lot easier for software companies to distribute a minimum viable product than hardware companies. Proving that a new hardware concept will take off usually requires the time, materials and manufacturing costs to actually produce it.

Kickstarter, however, introduces hardware products well before they’re ready to be shipped. It reduces risk because funding literally depends on how appealing a product is to consumers.

The process can make a company just as easily as it can dissuade one from pushing ahead with a product.

When Dan Provost and Tom Gerhadt put up a campaign for an iPod tripod mount called Glif in 2010, for instance, they didn’t intend to start a company. When Kickstarter users responded by pledging $137,417 for a $10,000 goal, however, they created Studio Neat, which has since released two additional products and one more Kickstarter campaign.

“The outcome of the first project definitely blew us away — we did not expect to raise that much money,” Provost tells Mashable. “We kind of fell into having a business.”

Pre-User Feedback

Steven Isaac, the creator of TouchFire, demonstrates the iPad keyboard at Mashable’s office.

Instead of inserting a string of babble into your prose, which is what usually happens when you rest your fingers on the iPad's keyboard, Steven Isaac’s TouchFire — a keyboard overlay for the iPad — doesn't set off a single key when you rest you fingertips on the product. Its defined keys make typing while looking away from the screen possible, and its silicon body is an improbably thin and flexible solution to a problem usually solved with clunky plastic add-ons. It is, in other words, pretty handy.

Kickstarter users who viewed the gadget’s demo video had just one complaint: The clips that attached Touchfire to an iPad cover for storage outside of the case looked clunky.

With this feedback, Isaac was able to redesign the clips before starting the manufacturing process.

“Whenever you develop a new product, you usually have to do it in this cold and lonely design studio where you're making your best guesses on what it should be,” Isaac says. “When we were developing TouchFire, we got user testing. You can usually only do that with a handful of people, whereas with Kickstarter, you now have thousands of people engaged in your product…It’s a whole different way of doing product development.”

A New Startup Route for Consumer Products

Pebbly Technology founder Eric Migicovsky has raised $10 million on Kickstarter to-date, a record for the platform.

Kickstarter gives hardware companies some advantages when they are developing new products. But it’s not a perfect system.

For one, companies can underestimate how much money they’ll need to actually manufacture a product. Even if a startup does the math correctly, it may set a goal lower than necessary in order to avoid missing it and gaining no funding at all.

Pebble Founder Eric Migicovsky said he set his $100,000 goal high enough to make about 1,000 watches. Isaac says that his $10,000 goal for producing TouchFire would not have been enough (though the $200,000 he ended up raising “has been just fine”).

Scott Wilson didn’t have a cash problem after raising $942,578 for two wrist straps called TikTok and LunaTik, which transform the iPod nano into a watch; nonetheless, he thinks it’s easy to underestimate costs. “People see the total [money] raised on Kickstarter and don’t always consider that amount against the significant investment that we made with TikTok+LunaTik in order to get more than 20,000 units into production, packaged and starting shipping to our Kickstarter backers in less than 2 months — a turnaround time that was incredibly fast and nearly unheard of for a consumer product.”

Kickstarter requires the creators of successful funding campaigns to refund any backer whose reward they cannot fulfill.

Even with these risks, however, the fundraising platform is creating new opportunities for hardware companies that extend beyond capital.

“I think we are at the start of a very interesting revolution in the way that consumer products are getting started up,” says Isaac. “This reminds me of what it was like with software in the early ’90s. You can now build things, real things, and do it with a small team.”

More About: crowdfunding, features, Hardware, kickstarter, pebble, Startups

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AOL Founder Warns Zuckerberg: Don’t Get Distracted by Facebook IPO [VIDEO]

Posted: 14 May 2012 04:38 PM PDT

Before Facebook, which is now just days away from a record-busting IPO, there was America Online or AOL. Before Social Media, there was Community. It’s quite possible that without the bulletin boards and chat rooms of the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s, there were would be no Facebook or Twitter. No Instagram or Viddy.

Services like AOL were the proving grounds for the digital interaction revolution of the new millennium. Ask AOL founder and former CEO Steve Case. He always believed community was the “killer app.”

Today, AOL is primarily a content and online advertising company with fewer paid subscribers than ever and scarcely remembered as the platform that, as Case puts it, “put America online.” Case moved on from the then merged AOL Time Warner almost a decade ago to launch an investment company, Revolution LLC, back some memorable startups like ZipCar and work with the Obama administration to help drive entrepreneurship.

Case believes the Facebook IPO will be a huge success and has nothing but praise for Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Still, when Case and company went public with AOL in 1992, the investment community barely understood the Internet. “We were the first Internet company to go public, and the roadshow then was really just trying to explain to people what this was, why it would be important.

“People thought it was kind of a hacker, hobbyist, nichey business.”

These days no one has to explain the Internet, social media or Facebook to an investor or Wall Street. But familiarity does not necessarily protect Facebook. AOL had a $17 million value when it went public in 1992, Case says, and was worth $150 billion a decade later.

By 2009, according to one estimate, it had dropped back to just $4.2 billion. “In the last decade [AOL] obviously lost some of that, its leadership position, which is sad to see and a lot of that had to do with focusing on the product and making sure you had the right people and culture,” said Case.

How does Facebook avoid a similar fate? Case thinks it’s by maintaining focus on products. Facebook should not let its stock price become a distraction — or all that fresh cash burn a hole in its pocket.

“Focus … on where product is going and what customers are looking for,” warns Case. “Be careful on acquisitions. Make sure they really are strategic and logical. When you have a large currency there’s a temptation to use it to acquire businesses that add some confusion to large business.”

Ultimately, Case is not worried about Facebook. “I think the focus Mark’s brought and the day-to-day operation expertise that Sheryl provides really has been a great team,” he says. “I’m confident it will continue to do well.”

Watch the video for more of Steve Case’s thoughts on Facebook and the AOL legacy, then share your reaction to his advice in the comments below.

More About: aol, Facebook, steve case

Newsweek Kindles Controversy Online with ‘Gay President’ Cover

Posted: 14 May 2012 04:17 PM PDT

Are controversial covers the secret to news magazine success? Newsweek certainly seems to think so.

A few days after Time made headlines around the Internet with its cover photo featuring a mom breastfeeding her maybe-too-old child, Newsweek is going to press with an image of President Obama, featuring a rainbow-colored halo and a caption declaring him the “first gay president.”

Andrew Sullivan, an openly gay and self-described conservative writer, wrote the title article for Newsweek, which outlines the president’s “evolution” on the issue of gay marriage.

President Obama announced his personal support for same-sex marriage during a television interview broadcast last Wednesday.

The “first gay president” line is a riff on political history — President Clinton was often warmly referred to as the “first black president” by African-American supporters due to his close ties with the black community.

Mashable collected a sample of Twitter users’ reactions to the cover. Tell us what you think about the cover in the comments below.


Comedy Central's Indecision account thinks Obama's gonna have some 'splainin to do.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: 2012 presidential campaign, barack obama, Newsweek, Politics, US

Britney Spears, Demi Lovato Break X Factor News on Twitter, Path

Posted: 14 May 2012 04:03 PM PDT

Global pop stars Britney Spears and Demi Lovato ignited significant buzz across social networks on Monday with a slew of posts confirming they will be judges on The X Factor in the fall.

The level of fan engagement Monday indicates the duo will likely bolster the Fox show’s digital chops — which may be necessary considering Simon Cowell only joined Twitter last season.

Spears — or at least her social media team — tweeted a photo of herself with judges Cowell and L.A. Reid just moments before they went on stage with Lovato at Fox’s programming upfront in New York City.

The surprisingly blurry photograph went up at 4:38 p.m. ET, accompanied by two hashtags that quickly trended worldwide on Twitter (see below). As of 6 p.m., the tweet has racked up 8,325 retweets.

Not long after, Spears turned to intimate social network Path to share the news, which she also pushed to Facebook via Path. The Facebook post attracted 11,000 Likes, 650 shares and 821 comments in an hour.

Spears’s involvement with Path began in March when she visited the startup’s San Francisco headquarters and published a post on the service.

Lovato, on the other hand, didn’t rush the announcement, opting to tell her Twitter followers at 5:20 PM ET.

X Factor last season became the first show ever to let viewers vote via Twitter’s private direct-messaging system.

During Monday’s announcement, Spears and Lovato, who replace Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, said they’re “excited” and “thrilled” to judge.

More About: britney spears, celebrities, demi lovato, Entertainment, Fox, simon cowell, social tv, x factor

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Most Restaurant-Goers Rely on Online Reviews [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 14 May 2012 03:54 PM PDT

In the digital age, finding a scrumptious meal or delectable dessert is only a few clicks away. Food review sites and apps like Yelp and Foodspotting make eating well superbly easy.

Before setting foot outside, about 45% of consumers have already chosen where to eat with the help of an online dining guide. Online reviews are a huge decider of what’s for dinner — 57% of patrons rely on them.

Even more interesting is that despite the rise of online food directories such as Urbanspoon or Menupages, 41% of consumers still wine and dine at a particular restaurant after receiving a promotional email.

The National Restaurant Association drew up the infographic below showcasing how technology is changing the food industry. Plus, check out the kinds of technology consumers are expecting to see in restaurants.

SEE ALSO: Cheap Eats: 5 iPhone Apps for Frugal Foodies

NRA Infographic

What’s the best use of tech you’ve seen in a restaurant? Tell us in the comments.

Infographic created by the National Restaurant Association

More About: food apps, infographic, restaurants

First Intel-Powered Windows 8 Tablets: Coming in November [REPORT]

Posted: 14 May 2012 03:24 PM PDT


The first wave of Windows 8 tablets are getting a boost from Intel — and consumers should be able to buy them in November, a new report suggests.

A slew of Windows 8 tablets will debut in the fall — when Microsoft is expected to officially release Windows 8 to the public — and they’ll run on chips from several different companies, a source told CNET.

While it’s been known for some time that Windows 8 would run on both traditional x86 processors as well as ARM-based designs (which are common in today’s tablets), the report says November is the target date — and that many of the designs are unconventional.

Intel recently made waves in mobile by announcing it would be pushing hard into the smartphone market with its new Atom chip designs, codenamed “Medfield.” Two Medfield-based phones have already been announced, from Lava and Lenovo. Intel already has its next mobile chips in the works.

The next Atom chip is codenamed “Clover Trail,” and that’s the one that’ll be in all of the Intel-based tablets for the Initial release. Medfield is strictly a single-core processor, but Clover Trail is a dual-core design. Intel says it has more than 20 Windows 8 tablets based on Clover Trail in the pipeline.

The advantage of any Intel-based tablet is that it would run the standard version of Windows 8, not Windows RT, which is an alternate version made to run on ARM-based devices. Almost every smartphone and tablet today runs on chips with ARM architecture, but Windows RT won’t be backward-compatible with Windows 7 apps. There’s also some question about the capabilities of third-party browsers on Windows RT.

SEE ALSO: Why You Should Get an Ivy Bridge PC

The report says more than half of the Clover Trail machines would be hybrid designs, meaning tablets that also double as laptops in some way. Intel showed off such a device — which the company called Nikiski — at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.

The Clover Trail machines are expected to complement other Windows 8 laptops, which will run on Intel’s recently unveiled Ivy Bridge processors. Ivy Bridge is made for the power demands of laptops and desktop PCs whereas Clover Trail would require much less power.

Clover Trail is a 32-nanometer technology, referring to the miniscule distance between transistors on the chip. Intel is also reportedly working on a 22-nanometer version, called “Bay Trail.” That chip will have a built-in ability to connect to 3G and 4G wireless networks, the report says, as well as Intel-powered graphics.

Does the fact that you might be able to buy a low-power x86-based Windows 8 tablet make you more inclined to buy one? Share your thoughts in the comments.

BONUS: A Tour of Windows 8

Start Menu

Here's what greets you every time you log into your Windows 8 machine. Yes, the tiles are customizable, though it's a little unwieldy in practice.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: intel, microsoft, tablets, Windows, Windows 8, Windows RT

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Number of Female CIOs is Dropping Fast — But Why?

Posted: 14 May 2012 02:55 PM PDT

The number of women in senior positions at tech companies is down for the second year in a row, according to a recent survey.

The U.S. arm of the British-based Harvey Nash Group and the data center provider TelecityGroup found that 9% percent of U.S. chief information officers (CIOs) are female. Last year, that figure was 11%. In 2010, it was 12%.

According to a report from Reuters, 30% of those polled stated there was no female representation in the management section of their IT organization. However, only half of the respondents considered women to be underrepresented in the IT department.

The respondents included 450 American technology leaders.

Meanwhile, a White House report on the state of women’s employment in the U.S., released in April, found that women comprise only 25% of all STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers.

That’s not to say that women haven’t reached senior levels at several top tech companies — Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, is a notable example. Yet Facebook still has no women on its executive board.

SEE ALSO: Women’s Rights Advocates Demand Facebook Appoint Women to Board

What’s to account for the dearth of women in technology?

The White House report attributed this representation to two factors: Women are studying STEM fields in college at a lower rate than men; and many women who earn STEM degrees don’t necessarily pursue STEM-related careers.

Moreover, the fact that women are currently absent from the top positions at IT departments makes it harder to attract women to these roles — thereby perpetuating the lack of female representation.

“Less and less women are attracted into that space so you wind up creating a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Anna Frazetto, senior vice president of international technology solutions at Harvey Nash USA, told Reuters. “It’s not a very welcoming arena to be in.”

Women are also still plagued by the “preconceived notion” that they are focused on other priorities, such as starting a family, according to the Reuters report.

In addition, as Mashable previously reported, female advancement in any career has much to do with self-advocacy — and women tend to not to take on the “negotiating mindset” to ask for promotion opportunities, better pay rates or flexible scheduling the way their male counterparts might.

SEE ALSO: 7 Tips for Women in the Tech Industry

Recent studies, however, have found that employing women in the upper echelons of companies pays off for both women and their companies. In the tech field, women-owned, venture-backed companies have 12% higher revenues.

In addition, companies whose top positions are more equally filled by men and women garnered 30% better results from IPOs.

So where might women be able to break into these companies? In the Harvey Nash survey, the majority of respondents said their organization is facing a skills shortage in business analysis and project management. According to Frazzetto, this is causing a paradigm shift in smaller companies, and larger companies may very well follow suit.

“The skills shortage is the biggest it’s ever been, and it’s going to cause companies to get a little more creative in shifting the culture of organizations,” said Frazetto.

What do you think women can do to promote themselves in this organizational “culture shift?” Do you have any other advice for women trying to break into technology? Let us know in the comments.

Thumbnail image courtesy of World Economic Forum, Flickr

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What Are You Worth to Facebook? Val-You Calculator Knows

Posted: 14 May 2012 02:30 PM PDT

Exactly how much are you worth to Facebook, in terms of advertising dollars? A new quiz will help you find out.

Online privacy company Abine has a Val-You quiz that will determine your dollar value to Facebook. The quiz asks you where you live, how often you Like posts, play Zynga games and your plans for your presence on Facebook in the future.

Kristina Kennedy, VP of Marketing at Abine, told Mashable that the purpose of the quiz is to raise awareness about the fact that Facebook uses your personal data to make a profit — and make quiz-takers question the security of that information.

“It’s really important that people become aware of how their information is used and collected online,” she said. “The Facebook IPO is making people more concerned about their privacy on Facebook.”

The Val-You quiz launched Thursday night and will be available indefinitely. It’s part of a campaign Abine is running called “Go Private.”

Abine is also launching a product called PrivacyWatch, which alerts users when Facebook changes its privacy settings and provides advice from security experts regarding how to keep Facebook information private.

A couple thousand people have taken the quiz as of Friday; so far the average worth per person is about $50 to Facebook.

Expect to see a lower value if you don’t live in North America. “That ups your value because most of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from North American companies trying to reach North American consumers,” Kennedy said.

Curious how the information was collected? Here’s how Abine explains it: “The Facebook Val-You calculator relies on data from the Facebook S-1 Filing, independent financial and market research analysts, data from Facebook advertisers, as well as Abine's internal modeling and estimates. It considers how an individual uses Facebook along with personal details in order to determine approximately how much revenue they may generate for Facebook this year.”

Facebook declined to comment.

Last year Facebook reported it made 85% of its revenue from advertising. And an eMarketer forecast estimated Facebook will pull in $5.1 billion in 2012 for ad sales revenue.

On Thursday, Facebook announced it would group its terms and privacy policies into one 7,000 word document, similar to what Google did in January, to make one comprehensive policy.

Another part of Abine’s privacy campaign: a flash mob next Tuesday, May 15, in San Francisco and New York City. Participants will walk single-file down major streets at 11 a.m. PT/EST, respectively, to raise awareness that “you’re always being followed.”

What are you worth to Facebook? Tell us your results in the comments.

More About: Facebook, online advertising

Mashable Connect: Highlights From the ‘Happiest Conference on Earth’

Posted: 14 May 2012 02:16 PM PDT

Building on the success of last year’s Mashable Connect, our biggest conference of the year returned in 2012 to explore the future of digital with some of the brightest minds in the industry and Mashable‘s passionate community. Set in a truly unique setting, Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World, Mashable Connect 2012 was the place to form meaningful offline connections.

Surrounded by the magic of Disney, speakers shared new ideas and breaking news, ranging from the digital evolution of brands to the future of data in an increasingly connected world. In-depth conversations took place during breakout sessions, the topics of which covered digital branding, design and entrepreneurship.

Onstage we heard from esteemed industry leaders, such as Lawrence Lessig, professor of law and leadership at Harvard Law School, who spoke about a post-SOPA world; Mashable’s editor in chief, Lance Ulanoff interviewed Joe Fernandez, founder and CEO of Klout, about the evolution of Klout’s tracking system; Cindy Gallop, founder and CEO of, spoke about why marketing is broken and how to fix it; and Leslie Berland, SVP of digital partnerships and development at American Express, shared the story of American Express’s digital transformation.

Our dynamic lineup of speakers truly made Mashable Connect a memorable experience. You can view all of our editorial coverage of the content sessions here, and watch full video coverage of speakers online.

Equally important as the content were the connections formed at Mashable Connect. Whether through the photo scavenger hunt through Epcot, our private access to Star Tours at Hollywood Studios, in honor of “May the 4th,” the impromptu dance party that unfolded in the digital lounge, or the evening pool parties, it was clear people had a whole lot of fun at Mashable Connect.

And no one will forget the extraordinary cuisine from Disney’s executive chef, who prepared flamed gourmet macaroni and cheese, mouth-watering crab cakes (which became on a hot topic on Twitter the night they were served) and the artfully composed dessert castle that offered an assortment of sweets.

Conversations constantly flowed in-person and online via the #MashCon tag, and the dialog is still going strong in our Mashable Connect Facebook group. We’re thankful to everyone who brought his or her perspective to the conversation.

A big thanks to all our sponsors, including Buddy Media, AT&T, Barnes & Noble College Marketing, Hiscox, webtrends, Definition 6, Adobe, Society of Human Resource Management and Starbucks for contributing to the success of Mashable Connect.

Photos of the event were taken by Erica Gannette. Enjoy a photo recap below!


Evolution of the Second Screen panel with Randy Shiozaki, Co-Founder, TVplus; Miguel Monteverde, VP Digital Media, Discovery Communications; Scott Rosenberg, CEO & Co-Founder, Umami & Christina Warren, Entertainment Editor, Mashable

Click here to view this gallery.

Mashable Connect Sponsors

Buddy Media is the social enterprise software of choice for eight of the world’s top ten global advertisers, empowering them to build and maintain relationships with their consumers in a connections-based world. The Buddy Media social marketing suite helps brands build powerful connections globally with its scalable, secure architecture and data-driven customer insights from initial point of contact through point of purchase. For more information, visit

AT&T is bringing it all together for our customers, from revolutionary smartphones to next-generation TV services and sophisticated solutions for multi-national businesses. For more than a century, we have consistently provided innovative, reliable, high-quality products and services and excellent customer care. For more, visit

Barnes & Noble College Marketing (BNCM) helps brands thrive on campus. It is a division of Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc. that operates more than 640 college bookstores across the country, serving more than 4.7 million students and faculty members. BNCM has the on-campus access and student understanding to deliver superior marketing programs for its brand partners. BNCM's capabilities include: experiential and event marketing; product sampling, sweepstakes and promotions; digital marketing (social, email, web); on-campus advertising and postering; and programs targeting freshmen, graduates, alumni and athletic event fans. Visit

Hiscox specializes in tailored insurance coverage for a range of professional services firms in industries like IT, marketing, consulting and more. Hiscox Insurance Company Inc. has been protecting clients for over 100 years and is rated ‘A’ (Excellent) for financial strength by A.M. Best.

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Webtrends powers digital marketing success. Webtrends is at the forefront of real-time digital marketing relevance and customer experience management through unified customer intelligence. Our industry-leading analytics across mobile, social and web enables marketers to optimize campaigns, maximize customer lifetime value and deliver highly relevant digital brand experiences in real-time.

Webtrends dramatically improves digital marketing results for more than 3,500 global brands including, in EMEA and internationally, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, HSBC, ASOS, Orange, T-Mobile, Microsoft, BMW, Toyota,, AllSaints, The Telegraph, and many more.

Definition 6 is a Unified Marketing Agency that creates brand experiences that unite brands and people in motion. Through imagination, innovation and insight, we execute ideas that deliver continued value across all brand interactions. For more information, please visit

The Adobe Digital Marketing Suite is an integrated set of applications which allow businesses to gather customer insight and optimize advertising, conversion and retention efforts as well as the creation and distribution of content. For example, using the Suite, marketers can identify the most effective marketing strategies and ad placements as well as create relevant, personalized and consistent customer experiences across digital marketing channels, such as onsite, display, e-mail, social, video and mobile. The Suite enables marketers to automatically adjust to customer interactions and better maximize marketing ROI, which leads to a positive impact the bottom line.

The leading resource for human resource and business leaders to explore and discuss the latest workforce and workplace trends including social innovation—providing the in-depth research and insights needed to adapt and take advantage of what's next.

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Facebook Privacy: This Service Alerts You When it Changes [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 14 May 2012 02:08 PM PDT

Online privacy company Abine has launched a service called PrivacyWatch, which alerts subscribers when Facebook changes its privacy settings.

The service costs $1.99 per month, and also includes expert analysis of any changes Facebook makes to its privacy settings. Kristina Kennedy, VP of Marketing at Abine, told Mashable security experts will also guide users as to how best ensure their data is actually private on Facebook.

Considering Facebook‘s impending IPO and the recent announcement that its privacy policies have been combined into one 7,000-word document, consumers want to be in-the-know about how to guard their data, she said.

“Throughout its history, Facebook has made more user information public,” Kennedy said.

Facebook’s shift in its attitude toward user privacy is seen in the renaming of its “privacy policy” to a “data use policy,” she explained. “This is a clear indication that Facebook is using your data.” Facebook declined to comment.

In addition to its evolving privacy policies, Facebook has also pushed universal changes on its users — such as Timeline and the organ donor option. Encouraging more use of preselected data fields also make identifying user interests for the benefit of advertisers easier, Kennedy says.

“If we’re honest, most people have not read Facebook’s privacy policies,” she said. “Nobody has time and nobody’s reading them.”

PrivacyWatch is one part of Abine’s “Go Private” campaign, which also includes a flash mob scheduled for May 15 and a quiz that tells you how valuable you are to Facebook.

What do you think about PrivacyWatch? Would you pay to be alerted when Facebook changes it privacy policies? Tell us in the comments.

Check out this infographic showing how Facebook’s privacy policy has changed over time and where it’s headed:

More About: Facebook, privacy

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Groupon Stock Jumps 28% on Narrower Loss

Posted: 14 May 2012 01:43 PM PDT

Groupon narrowed its loss in the first quarter, sending the company’s stock price up about 28% for the day.

The company’s $559.3 million in revenues and a loss of $0.2 a share easily bested expected revenues of $530.8M and a loss of $0.4 cents per share. Groupon’s stock, which had risen 18.5% on Monday, soared another 11% in after-hours trading on the news. A year ago, Groupon had posted a Q1 loss of 48 cents per share on revenues of $295.5 million.

Groupon had reported profits of $15 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, but later revised that to a $15 million loss after admitting to a “material weakness” in its financial controls that failed to accurately predict the amount of refunds customers would call in.

Meanwhile, Groupon’s revenue share with merchants jumped from 40% last quarter to 41.3% in Q1.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, seewhatmitchsee

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American Express App to Blast Daily Deals Based on Your Payment History

Posted: 14 May 2012 01:30 PM PDT

American Express has launched an iPhone app feature that blasts daily deals offers to consumers based on their purchase history and location.

The My Offers” feature, which is part of American Express’s existing iPhone app, is set to go live at 6 p.m. EST. Offers, concentrated first in New York and Los Angeles, will include merchants like Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, which are offering “spend $10, get $5″ deals. Local merchants in both cities are also offering deals.

My Offers uses AmEx’s Smart Offer technology, which the company has employed to craft offers on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. In a release introducing the feature, Josh Silverman, president of the U.S. Consumer Services Group at American Express, acknowledged that the daily deals space — led by Groupon and LivingSocial — is crowded. But the company sees an opportunity to use its customer purchase data to come up with more relevant offers.

Such offers will be ranked by relevance — taking into account the user’s spending history and current location. Users can also sort the offers by location and expiration date. After using their cards to make a payment, the savings are delivered within three to five days.

Using purchase history data is a differentiator in a category plagued by irrelevancy. Groupon has attempted to better sort its deals with a Pandora-like “thumbs up” feature that tracks users’ preferences.

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Twitter Will Email You Top Stories From Your Feed

Posted: 14 May 2012 01:01 PM PDT

Twitter will soon begin emailing you a weekly digest of your own feed.

The summary will include tweets and links that are likely to be important to you based on what the people who you follow share.

It will also include the “most engaging” tweets and stories those people saw in their own feeds, if they retweet or favorite them.

“Stories feature a design similar to the recently updated Discover tab, emphasizing who shared each story beneath summaries to help you decide which ones matter most to you,” reads a Monday post on the Twitter blog.

“Click any headline to finish reading the story, add your take by tweeting directly from the email, and see related Tweets from the people you follow.”

The announcement makes Twitter’s recent move to hire the team behind RestEngine, a personalized email marketing provider, less mysterious.

Twitter also acquired a startup called Summify earlier this year, which offered a product similar to this new email digest. Before it was acquired, Summify emailed users five stories that they should read based on what their friends on social networks shared and engaged with.

"You get your stories once a day or every few hours … and then you're done," Summify co-founder Mircea Paşoi told Mashable months before the sale. "That's the feeling that people actually enjoy — that they're done and there's not more that they need to read."

Making information that is shared on Twitter easier to absorb for all Twitter users makes sense for the social network. As of October, 40% of Twitter users who actively log into Twitter don’t ever Tweet. They’re there to listen.

Email digests are set to roll out to everyone “over the next few weeks.”

Do you think a weekly Twitter digest will be helpful? Or will it just create more spam in your already overflowing inbox? Let us know in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iStock, kizilkayaphotos

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