Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Bold Concept Unites Leica i9 Camera With an iPhone”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Bold Concept Unites Leica i9 Camera With an iPhone”

Bold Concept Unites Leica i9 Camera With an iPhone

Posted: 26 Apr 2011 02:10 AM PDT

Would you like to have a cameraphone that doesn’t make compromises when it comes to camera-related features, image quality and functionality as a smartphone? The folks from Black Design Associates would like that too, so they created a concept that essentially turns an iPhone 4 case into a full-fledged camera.

Place the iPhone inside the “case”, and you get a ready-to-shoot camera, with internal flash memory, a 12.1 megapixel sensor and 8x optical zoom. On the back side, you control it through the iPhone’s 3.5-inch retina display, which doesn’t at all sound like a bad way to operate a camera. Of course, the iPhone also brings some additional perks, such as the ability to quickly compress photos and videos and share them on your favorite social network.

The concept (which is nowhere near production stage, as far as we can tell) leaves many questions unanswered: how practical would it be to carry the Leica camera-case around, and what are the benefits of such an idea over having a standard camera that can connect to the iPhone. Still, for those of us that dream of phones and high-end cameras some day merging into one, it’s an interesting proposition.

[Black Design Associates via Engadget]

More About: camera, cameraphone, concept, design, iphone, Leica

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RIP Typewriters: Last Manufacturer Closes Its Doors

Posted: 26 Apr 2011 12:02 AM PDT

Joining other discarded technologies of late, including the Flip video camera, Kodachrome, and the humble floppy disk is the typewriter, which will no longer be produced anywhere in the world.

The last company on earth to produce the typewriter — Godrej and Boyce — has shut down its production plant in Mumbai, India, according to reports that, fittingly, are making the rounds via the Internet.

The company’s general manager, Milind Dukle, told India’s Business Standard newspaper: “We are not getting many orders now.” Update: Gawker is reporting that there are still manufacturers in China, Japan and Indonesia making typewriters.

The announcement, if true, ends a long run for the device, which was once a mainstay of office life. A prototype of the typewriter was introduced in 1714 by Henry Mill, but the first mass-produced typewriter came in 1868 when Christopher Latham Sholes, a printer-publisher from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, patented the device.

The typewriter hit its peak of production in the 1950s when Smith-Corona sold 12 million of the machines in the last quarter of 1953. But, thanks to the encroachment of the personal computer, only about 400,000 typewriters had been sold annually by 2009.

Though most of the world had abandoned the use of typewriters of late, India proved to be the one of the last bastions of use for the technology until recently. Another niche market for typewriters is more fanciful: Despite their lack of functionality, typewriters are being fetishized, oddly enough, by young hipsters, who are drawn by the nostalgia and romantic image attached to the now-bygone technology.

If you care to indulge in your own nostalgia — or remember briefly how loud typewriters were and what a pain making corrections used to be — have a look at the gallery below, which comes to you via a handful of the aforementioned hipsters who have shared their fetish via Flickr:


By Flickr user travelingtribe


By Flickr user xlibber


By Flickr user garryknight


By Flickr user fil

Shift Key

By Flickr user emdot


By Flickr user bitzi


By Flickr user amandawoodward


By Flickr user stasiland


By Flickr user jolieodell

Lead image courtesy of Flickr, beta500.

More About: Flip, kodachrome, typewriter, Typewriters

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Sony Launching 2 New Tablets, & Both Run Android Honeycomb [PHOTOS]

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 10:44 PM PDT

Tuesday, Sony announced it’s launching two tablets, both of which run Android 3.0, a.k.a. Honeycomb.

One of the tablets, dubbed the S1, sports a 9.4-inch screen. The other is the S2; it bears a novel dual-screen design. The device’s two 5.5-inch screens can be used separately or together; they can also be folded onto one another to create a compact and highly portable package.

Both tablets are WiFi and 3G/4G compatible and integrate with PlayStation Suite, Sony’s new Android-friendly platform that allows users to download and play PlayStation games.

And, as might be expected, the tablets are intended to be welcome additions to the living room, playing well with and enhancing traditional entertainment devices. Sony says the S1 in particular “uses infrared technology and works as a universal remote control for a variety of AV devices … turning on TVs, changing the channel and adjusting the volume.” The tablets can also take advantage of DLNA functionality to “project” content to other, larger screens and speakers.

The tablets will come to retail in fall 2011. We’re still waiting for details on pricing, but we’re expecting it’ll be competitive with what’s already on the market.

Check out the photos below. Do you think the S1 and S2 are tablets you’d consider buying?

Sony's S1, Front View

Sony's S1, Back View

Side View of Sony S1

9.4-Inch Screen, Sony S1

Sony's S1 & S2

Side View of Sony S1

More About: android, android tablet, honeycomb, sony, Tablet

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Mobile App Helps Users Learn Language From Real Life

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 10:14 PM PDT

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

Name: Voxy

Quick Pitch: Voxy uses location and current events to teach language.

Genius Idea: Adding context to new words and phrases.

Living in Spanish-speaking countries for a decade gave Voxy CEO Paul Gollash strong opinions about how people learn languages best. Interviewing top linguists gave him more.

He rolled what he learned from the two experiences into an innovative learning app for the iPhone. Voxy, says Gollash, turns on “learning in the flow of your life.”

Voxy has two main components. The first is a news feed that pulls in current articles from the Associated Press. It distills each article to passages of about 100 words that are appropriate for the user’s language level. Then it adds links that, when clicked, translate phrases and offer the option to add them to a personal vocabulary list. As the user catches up on news that she is interested in, the articles and vocab phrases that she reads are saved in a separate section for review later.

The second main component changes depending on where the user is. Visiting the grocery store, for instance, pulls up a list of “vocabulary,” “things you hear” and “things you say” appropriate for food shopping.

Essentially, the app adds context to what otherwise would be a stack of flashcards.

“When you go back to study you are studying basically scenes from your life,” Gollash says.

In a pilot program Voxy ran at Miami Dade College in Florida, a group of ESL students who tried this personalized approach reported that they studied language twice as much as a control group in the same class. Voxy didn’t take any assessments, but “time on task” is a widely agreed upon factor in successful language acquisition.

If you haven’t heard of Voxy, it’s probably because its first and only app is intended for Spanish-speaking users who are learning English. Gollash says he chose this category because, at least in the United States, learning English is often connected to financial and emotional well-being. Also, Spanish-speaking English learners in the United States are geographically concentrated in five states, which makes them easy to target.

In eight countries outside the United States, Voxy is the top education application in the App Store. At the end of March, Voxy had 77,000 registered users, and the startup is on track to end this month with 160,000 registered users. The app even beat out Angry Birds on the general list of top apps in Spain — at least for a couple hours.

Gollash says he hopes the upcoming release of a Voxy Android app, which can run on a wider variety of devices, many of which are more affordable than the iPhone, will help expand the English-learner userbase in the US.

Meanwhile, the startup, which has raised a total of $1.2 million in funding to date, will also expand its offerings to learners of other languages. In about two weeks, it expects to release a version of Voxy designed to teach English speakers how to speak Spanish.

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: education, language, startup, Voxy

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A First Look at Facebook’s New Deals

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 08:05 PM PDT

Tomorrow, Facebook’s new Deals feature will be launching in five cities around the U.S.; here’s a first glimpse of how those offers will look and function.

First, users who opt into Deals will get to see opportunities specific to their locations. Those offers will arrive via email or, in some cases, will appear in the user’s news feed on Facebook.

To be clear, these aren’t like the checkin-based deals for mobile users that Facebook launched for its nascent Places platform; while the initial mobile Deals product competed with Foursquare, the new product competes more with Groupon.

Each deal will have its own Facebook landing page, as shown below. Users can “Like” a deal, share it via several channels on the site, or opt to buy it right away. When purchasing the deal, users can pay with credit card or Facebook Credits.

It’s unknown whether Facebook will make more money from Credits purchases than from traditional ones. A rep said via email, “We’re not disclosing details about revenue splits, but paying with Credits will work the same way as paying with a credit card. It’s simply another way for people to pay for Deals. We think this just makes things easier for people using Facebook.”

Check out the gallery below for a walkthrough of signing up for, finding, buying and sharing the new Facebook Deals.

Facebook Deals' Landing Page

Example of a Facebook Deal

Buying a Facebook Deal

Sharing a Facebook Deal

More About: facebook, Facebook Deals, screenshots

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Facebook’s New Deals Product Coming to 5 Cities Tomorrow

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 07:08 PM PDT

Facebook is finally launching local Deals — a feature that will compete with Groupon‘s core product, not Foursquare’s — in five cities starting Tuesday.

The five communities in question are San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, Atlanta and San Diego. Facebook revealed to The New York Times that the local offers made to Deals users will be delivered via email and will also appear in users’ news feeds.

Any Facebook user can sign up for Deals notifications on the feature’s landing page now; users in the five test cities will be able to see and use Deals within a few hours of the writing of this post.

UPDATE: We’ve now got screenshots of the all-new Deals.

Facebook’s first local deals product was announced as part of Facebook’s overarching locations feature, Places. Mobile check-ins were linked to deals; in this way, Deals served as an incentive for Facebook users to integrate Facebook Places in their daily lives — and they were also an incentive for marketers and major brands to put more money into the Facebook platform. Facebook even briefly launched a page to let web users find these checkin-focused deals on the web.

However, the new Deals will be less like a Foursquare coupon awarded to the user after a checkin and more like a Groupon voucher, which means the user will buy a certificate for a certain good or service at a steep discount, typically half off its retail price, then redeem it later.

Examples of the new breed of Facebook Deals from brands include “unlimited bowling with six friends for an evening for $60 (75% off)” and “luxury winery tour and 25% off all wine purchases for $50.”

Perhaps most importantly, users will be able to buy Deals using Facebook Credits, paving a smooth path between a virtual currency and real-world goods and services. We suspected Facebook had plans to bring Credits to the real world since around the time of f8, the company’s developer conference, when Facebook announced its ambitious Open Graph.

Users will also be able to buy Deals with major credit cards.

Stay tuned for more information, specific deals and screenshots in a few hours.

Image based on a photo from Flickr user nathangibbs.

More About: facebook, Facebook Deals, groupon

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Nintendo Wii 2 Rumors: The Comprehensive Guide

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 05:43 PM PDT

Nintendo’s highly anticipated successor to the Wii is coming in 2012.

But that’s really all we know from official channels. Rumors have been swirling around the web about everything from the console’s hardware to its price. It does apparently have a name: “Stream.”

Could the Wii 2 incorporate touchscreen technology? What will be different about this device from the original Wii? Will it be more powerful than the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3? And how much will it cost? Here’s our comprehensive guide to Nintendo Wii 2 rumors.

Specs and Hardware

The original Nintendo Wii was criticized for its relatively weak specs and lack of HD functionality. The console didn’t even come with a gig of flash memory space. Back in 2006, Nintendo could get away with an underpowered system — few people owned HDTVs and the device was focused on capturing the hearts of the casual gamer.

But in 2011, more than half of U.S. homes own an HDTV. Nintendo knows it will need a more powerful console to stay competitive, especially as the Xbox 360 has become the world’s best-selling console, thanks to the Kinect’s record-breaking sales.

The Nintendo Wii 2 seems to be designed to address these fundamental issues. Here are some of its key specs, courtesy of IGN:

  • A revamped version of the AMD R7000 GPU architecture, as well as a triple-core IBM PowerPC chipset that will be designed to beat the Xbox 360.
  • 1080p output (very likely) and stereoscopic 3D (less likely).
  • Its physical size will be similar to that of the Xbox 360 and “is likely to resemble a modernized version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).”
  • Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn (the company that builds Apple’s iOS devices) will produce it, according to Digitimes.


Rather than creating a new version of the Wiimote, Nintendo has apparently opted for a more traditional controller layout with two joysticks and a four-button diamond layout.

However, if you look at the photos of the mockups (leaked to Destructoid, you will notice something no other controller boasts: a 6-inch 1080p color touchscreen.

A touchscreen controller creates the potential for streaming additional content to each player, much like the two-screen system utilized by the Nintendo DS and 3DS. There is just as much potential for the controller to be a gaming device in its own right. Full-length mobile-style games could be streamed (or even downloaded) onto a controller.

These controllers seem to be an acknowledgment that Apple’s iOS has redefined gaming and made touchscreen gameplay a mainstream phenomenon. It seems like a smart move on Nintendo’s part to integrate touchscreen technology, though we wonder how awkward it will be to use. The Wiimote was a one-handed device, like a remote control, because that is easier for novice gamers to understand.

There’s also the issue of price. Touchscreen controllers won’t be cheap to manufacture. Little else is known about their batteries or how the controllers will connect to the console.

Apparently the Wii 2 will support the Wiimote, which makes us believe that this device will be backwards-compatible. This suggests Nintendo and other third-party developers will still be creating games that utilize the Wiimote and the Wii Motion Plus add-on.

Name & Price

Nintendo always has a codename for console projects. The Gamecube was known as “Project Dolphin” until its debut, and the Nintendo Wii was dubbed “Project Revolution.” From what we’ve learned, the new console bears the codename “Project Cafe.” That won’t be its official name, of course. The winning name seems to be “Stream,” but Nintendo apparently hasn’t made a final decision yet.

The Stream won’t be cheap, either. Unlike the Nintendo Wii, which had a $250 price point that was a major selling point for casual gamers, people should expect a price range between $350 and $400.

Burning Questions

We have a few questions we want answered before the console’s supposed debut at E3 this June:

  • What kind of support will it have for online gaming? The Wii is severely lacking in this functionality.
  • What kind of interface will it boast? Will it be the casual, “cutesy” interface of the Wii?
  • Will the Stream be able to court hardcore gaming titles? Halo has been magnificent for Microsoft; can Nintendo give birth to a similar franchise?
  • Will it be backwards compatible?
  • Can the Stream controllers play games independently?
  • Can the Nintendo DS or 3DS be used as controllers for the Nintendo Stream?

Would you pay $400 for this console? Would touchscreen controllers be a smart move by the gaming giant? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Nintendo Stream: Advertising Mockup

This is a reportedly leaked mockup of the new Nintendo device, codename "Project Cafe." It's about the size of the original Xbox 360 and is described in style as a "retro-style SNES."

Nintendo Stream Controller

The new Nintendo Stream controller includes a 6" touchscreen interface. The Stream is also reportedly backwards-compatible with the Nintendo Wii motion controllers.

Nintendo Stream Mockup

Another mockup of the device itself.

Nintendo Stream Controllers

Another look at the rumored controllers of the Nintendo Stream.

Mockup: Stream Controller

A mockup of a potential Nintendo Stream controller by IGN.


More About: iOS, iphone, kinect, microsoft, Nintendo, Nintendo Stream, nintendo wii, Nintendo Wii 2, playstation, playstation 3, sony, stream, touchscreen, Wii 2, Xbox 360, Xbox Kinect

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Moguls, Your Industry Blog Has Arrived

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 04:18 PM PDT

Monday morning, Dan Abrams launched Mogulite, the seventh blog in the portfolio of niche content sites that make up Abrams Media.

Building off the success of Abrams’s leading site Mediaite, which publishes stories about big-wig media personalities to an audience of 1.7 million unique viewers per month, Mogulite aims to chronicle the moves and attitudes of leaders in the tech, entertainment and finance industries, among others.

In tone, it most closely resembles The Observer; in content, Business Insider and Gawker. On Mogulite, editor Amy Terney says, one can expect to discover which luminary celebrated New Year's Eve 2005 by singing Johnny Cash songs with Usher, and learn about the financial titan who was able to sidestep a $900 million insider-trading suit by donating $100 million to his own charitable fund — useful knowledge, it seems, to some.

Its target audience? Aspiring moguls, “those who simply like to gaze at wildly successful people from afar,” and the moguls themselves of course, says Abrams.

Like the others Abrams Media properties, Mogulite will be produced by a small staff — in this case, two editors, plus part-time consulting editor Peter Lauria — and funded by display advertising. Men’s clothing brand Bonobos is the launch sponsor, and Abrams says the site expects to have the support of a “major liquor sponsor” beginning mid-May.

Abrams Media has been in the red since its founding in 2009, but Abrams assures us that it will profitable this year.

“In January and February we were profitable but based on expenses and ad dollars we were not in March and April,” Abrams says. “We will be back in the black in May and I hope, and expect, that we will stay there,” he adds, noting that most of the company’s revenue comes from ads on its flagship site Mediate, which has a staff of six.

The startup plans to expand its events business and begin selling spots on its job boards to supplement advertising revenues.

Mogulite is not the only site Abrams plans to launch this year. “We are going to launch two or maybe three more sites this year,” Abrams says. “I have not made a final decision on what industries they will cover, but they will focus on discrete personalities within particular communities.”

More About: abrams media, blog, blogging, dan abrams, media, mediate, mogulite

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Despite Competitors, Netflix Earnings Rise 88%

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 03:10 PM PDT

Netflix revealed Monday that its earnings are up 88% compared to this time last year. The subscription movie service reported a net income of $60 million on its Q1 report.

More than 3 million new subscribers have signed on to Netflix since January, pushing its total number of viewers to 23.6 million — more than those buying Comcast cable alone. (Comcast still has many more subscribers than Netflix does if you count the customers who buy video service alongside voice and Internet.)

Netflix’s earnings have benefited from a price increase on its hybrid service that took effect with its pure streaming plan in November. While the changes were made in Q4 of 2010, they took effect in Q1. Meanwhile, Netflix set a new company record for marketing spend.

Netflix is reaping the benefits of establishing a post-Blockbuster model of video rentals. Several competitors have launched to challenge it in the last 12 months — Hulu Plus and Amazon’s Prime Instant Video. Dish Networks, which purchased Blockbuster in April, will likely launch a subscription streaming effort under that brand.

The competition helps explain why Netfix has a new focus on original content. It has made exclusive partnerships with CBS and Lionsgate, as well as a non-exclusive agreement with Fox in Q1.

“Our competitive strategy relative to other streaming services is simply to grow as fast as we can, so we can afford more content, more marketing, and more R&D than our competitors,” explains Netflix’s Q1 letter to its shareholders.

More About: earnings, netflix

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Beastie Boys Stream New Album After Internet Leak

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 02:16 PM PDT

The Beastie Boys have made a streamed version of their new album available on their website as a so-called “hostile and retaliatory measure with great hubris” to an Internet leak.

The Beasties announced the leak Monday: “Good people, unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control, the ‘clean’ version of our new album, The Hot Sauce Committee pt 2 has leaked,” the site explains. “So as a hostile and retaliatory measure with great hubris we are making the full explicit aka filthy dirty nasty version available for streaming on our site. We hope this brings much happiness, hugs, and harmony.”

The site doesn’t offer any further explanation, though bootlegged versions of the album seem to be fairly abundant.

Streaming the album is the latest marketing push for the band, which has gone all out to promote its eighth studio album. The buildup so far has included a star-studded, 30-minute video called Fight for Your Right — Revisited, which features Seth Rogen, Jack Black, Danny McBride, Elijah Wood, Will Ferrell and Susan Sarandon, among others, on Hulu, though a shorter version exists on YouTube.

The album is set for release May 3.

Image courtesy of Flickr, goro_memo.

More About: beastie boys, music

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70+ Upcoming Social Media & Tech Events

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 02:04 PM PDT


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

Here are some tips on how to network, share your information and/or promote your event(s) using social media:

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

Upcoming Mashable Events

Mashable Connect — May 12-14, 2011, Orlando, FL: Mashable Connect 2011 will be an intimate experience that brings together leaders from the digital world for a weekend away to share and connect offline. Set away from the distractions of traditional conferences, Mashable Connect will recreate the Mashable web experience on the grounds of Disney World, creating an environment where attendees can truly engage and build lasting connections. The invite-only conference will cover new territory, break news and feature special events, with a touch of Disney magic.

April 25-30, 2011, Philadelphia, PA: Philly Tech Week is a week-long celebration of technology and innovation in Philadelphia. Rock to 8-bit chiptunes, discover the ins and outs of augmented reality, or see the next great Philly startups as Technically Philly hosts over 25 technology-focused events in the city of Brotherly Love. Most events are free.

April 26-28, 2011, San Francisco, CA: GSMI presents Mobile Marketing Strategies Summit. GSMI has diligently worked to find the best, brightest and most distinct speakers in the Mobile Marketing industry. Our 2011 Mobile Marketing Summit will provide valuable information, through case studies, presentations and hands on workshops. Attendees will leave the conference with the tools and knowledge needed to keep their brands competitive in the Mobile Marketing industry. Register and use the promo code MikeSM.

April 26, 2011, Los Angeles, CA: LA Games Conference – Over 300 of the most influential decision-makers in the games industry gather for the LA Games Conference to network, do deals, and share ideas about the future of console, PC, online and mobile games. LA Games Conference – now in its 4th year – features a lively and fun debate on timely cutting-edge business topics, demos as well unrivaled access to some of the most progressive companies in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and beyond. We invite you to join us at the event and take part in the discussion with executives, creators, investors, analysts, press and gamers who will be instrumental in shaping the future of this booming business. For a limited time we are offering a special Early Bird Rate of $299 – a $400 saving, plus plus receive 15% off with the promo code MASH15! Don’t miss the opportunity – Book NOW to reserve your seat!

April 26, 2011, Kansas City, MO: The Social: IRL Social Business Summit with Jeremiah Owyang takes place April 26 in Kansas City MO. The event location is just minutes from Kansas City International Airport for easy nationwide attendance. This event offers a unique opportunity for anyone serious about social business and social strategy to spend a full day learning from industry leader Jeremiah Owyang in a unique interactive format. With a focus on business objectives first, Jeremiah will lead attendees through sessions that present a framework, include hands on workshops, group collaboration, and interactive Q&A. The goal of the Social Business Summit is for attendees to bring an actionable plan to their day job. Register and use discount code MASHABLE to receive a $25 discount on registration(s).

April 28, 2011, New York, NY: Don't miss the Guardian newspaper's gathering for leaders working across all sectors who are proving that, through the use of technology and the internet, we can make the world a better place. Confirmed speakers include Fred Wilson, Nicholas Negroponte, Craig Newmark, Arianna Huffington, Nathan Eagle, Jeff Jarvis, Chris Vein, Lawrence Lessig, Evgeny Morozov, Katie Stanton and Bruce Schneier among others. For more information, please visit with the discount code ACT30 to save 30% on registration.

April 28, 2011, Las Vegas, NV: Interested in meeting early-stage Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists in Las Vegas? If so, then register for the FundingPost event on April 28th! FundingPost has hosted 175+ sold-out venture events in 20 cities over the past 9 years. At our next event, the panel of investors will focus on Early-Stage Venture Investing: How to meet investors, pitch them, and what it really takes to get them to write you a check! For more information and to register, please click here.

May 1-3, 2011, Washington, D.C.: Under the theme 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers, World Press Freedom Day will affirm fundamental principles of media freedom in the digital age—the ability of citizens to voice their opinions and access diverse, independent information sources—20 years after the original declaration was made. Professional and citizen journalists struggling to promote accountable governments and informed publics will look for support and inspiration, as the panels highlight innovative media platforms that are democratizing how people gain and share information – rights that now more than ever must be protected. For more information and to register, please click here.

May 2-4, 2011, Toronto, Canada: Now in its 10th year, FITC Toronto is one of the largest and longest running events of its kind in the world. With some of the most unique and engaging presenters from around the globe, FITC Toronto is a blitz of presentations, demonstrations, and panel discussions, sandwiched between the legendary FITC parties and abundant networking opportunities. Register with the promo code Mashable10 and save 10%!

May 2-3, 2011, Chicago, IL: At Technology Driven Market Research, the focus is on presenting ground-breaking tools and technologies that are being used NOW and those on the horizon. These technologies are enabling “in the moment” research to more clearly understand consumer behavior. Through real-world experienced based presentations, this event will look at brand-mind placement, eye tracking research in a virtual retail environment, social gaming as a research device, and social and mobile analysis plus much more. Register with the promo code TDMR11MASH and save 20% off the standard rate.

May 3-7, 2011, London, UK: Digital Shoreditch is the voice of everything happening in Shoreditch. The festival explores and celebrates digital technologies; unites the digital community; and provides a platform for sharing knowledge. The activity culminates in a series of exhibitions, parties, presentations, open studios and games.

May 4, 2011, New York, NY: Co-created by Jeff Pulver of the 140Conf organization and Fashion Snoops, Fashion140 is a brave collaborative inquiry into how the real time web and social media are reshaping the fashion and style-related industries, now!. With over 50 speakers from Facebook, Twitter, Google Boutiques, Gilt Group, Urban Outfitters, Bonobos, Hautelook, Kmart Fashion, Miss Universe, Time Inc and many others, our goal is to create together a unique global perspective of the fashion industry and its future. For more information and to register, please click here.

May 4, 2011, Washington, D.C.: ConAgra Foods, United Health Group, the IRS, the U.S. Navy, and more will share case studies in corporate social media at BlogWell Washington, D.C.: How Big Brands Use Social Media. You’ll learn how to get started, get past roadblocks, and make your social media program phenomenal — in one afternoon, for just $250. Get practical, how-to advice on creating great content, getting management buy-in, educating employees, keeping lawyers and regulators happy, simple and ethical disclosure, and engaging fans. Presented by GasPedal and Register with promo code THANKSMASHABLE and save 10%!

May 5, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Social-Loco will convene thought leaders in social web, mobile and location-based commerce at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco. Leading pundits, executives and investors will dive into what the convergence of social and mobile web technologies means for SMB, big brands and consumers. Confirmed speakers include Emily White, Sr. Director of Local, Facebook; Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay and author of The Facebook Era; Robert Scoble, Managing Director at Rackspace; John Battelle, CEO of Federated Media and more. Register with the promo code mashable20 and save 20%!

May 5, 2011, New York, NY: DIGIDAY:TARGET will bring together the leading agency, brands, content and technology companies to examine and explore the innovations and the future of the audience targeting and measurement for media and marketing to consumers. The event will take a deep dive into the issues brands and agencies face as they enter this next frontier of advertising and marketing to improve their bottom line. Attendees will learn about the latest advances in cross platform technology, targeting, strategies, tactics that agencies, publishers, and brands can use to improve their communication and ROI among today’s consumers who spend more of their lives in the digital space.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 6, 2011, New York, NY: At Realtime NY 11 leading brands, government agencies and non profit organizations will present case studies and best practices for using the realtime web to deliver bottom-line results. Learn how to use realtime, social and mobile applications to drive revenue, build your brand, and listen to stakeholders. Discover how to find and engage influencers, and explore the value of social commerce and geolocation-based promotions. Realtime NY 11 will feature speakers who are pioneering and managing social media, mobile and realtime strategies for leading brands, including PepsiCo, IBM, Citibank, Delta Air Lines, McDonald’s, Gatorade and more. Register with the promo code MASHABLE to save 20%.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 28-29, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Produced by AllFacebook, AF Expo is your how-to guide for Facebook marketing and development. This two-day event is your inside look at Facebook innovations and technology issues jointly impacting marketers and social developers. Packed with case studies and real-world perspectives, AF Expo offers attendees a sneak peek at the latest Facebook data, demographics and design issues. Our experts include Tamara Mendelsohn (Director of Marketing, Eventbrite), Joseph Adolf (Manager, Digital Marketing, JetBlue Airways), Mark Rose (VP Product, Visa), Clara Shih (author, The Facebook Era), and many more. Register with promo code MASH to save 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Human Tetris Facebook Game Lets You Throw Friends Off Buildings [VIDEO]

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 12:59 PM PDT

Human Tetris anyone? Eastpak, the backpack company, has built a Facebook campaign around the concept — with a violent twist.

Eastpak isn’t the first to envision Human Tetris. But the company’s vision is unusual in that it involves people flinging themselves off a building and onto concrete. The brand’s Facebook game Spak, which you only get to see if you “Like” the page, lets you play a with your Facebook friends’ faces superimposed over the falling bodies.

The Eastpak brand is only active in Europe and China, which may explain why there are none of the "professional jumper, do not attempt" disclaimers you might expect to see in the U.S. The rough-and-tumble nature of the game no doubt underscores Eastpak’s brand promise: "Built to resist."

More About: eastpak, facebook, MARKETING, Tetris

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How Shakespeare & Social Media Are Fighting Cyber Bullying

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 12:51 PM PDT

shakespeare image

William Shakespeare, the bard behind some of the greatest works in the English language, is coming to a Facebook page near you. Weekly Reader has teamed up with the Ophelia Project and White Plain’s High School to re-enact one of Shakespeare’s plays on Facebook from April 26 to 28.

Much Ado About Nothing will be presented on a special page through status updates, posts, pictures and videos. The students helped create separate pages for their characters complete with pictures, in-character bios and likes. The project is meant both as an educational resource and a tool to combat cyber bullying.

People have long modernized Shakespeare by dressing actors in current clothing and trying to adapt the sometimes dense, complicated language. This project marks a quantum leap in format, as well, updating not only the characters but the way in which they interact. The play will be set in modern day, with dialogue and issues that are relevant to students. The play revolves around issues of hearsay and verbal abuse, making it a perfect segue to talking about online abuse.

Cyber Bullying

Facebook has become the de facto home base for our online identities. This is even more true for younger generations that have grown up with the popular social network as a constant in their lives. Day-to-day interactions, dramas and jokes often play out across Facebook and other social sites. Those online identities, however, are just as vulnerable to the same bullying and abuse as the people behind them. The problem is exacerbated by the relative anonymity of the Internet.

Facebook has also been the site of much cyber bullying, and they’ve made efforts to provide a slew of tools and resources available to report abuse. This project, which Facebook is helping to promote, marks another step forward.

Much Ado About Nothing deals with the damage caused by false information and pain of bullying. The play follows two couples fighting against ill will and spurious gossip. The plot should resonate with almost anyone who has spent a lot of time on the Internet. (Flocabulary, a hip hop education resource, turned out a (surprisingly entertaining) video to help explain the plot, embedded below.)

The latest reports from the Cyberbullying Research Center estimate that anywhere from 10 to 40% of teens experience cyber bullying. It’s a problem that President Obama has rallied against and a key component of the Ophelia Project’s role in the production. During the show, it will provide live updates regarding the social aggressions faced by characters in the play.

Douglas Cronk, the director of White Plains High School’s original performance of Much Ado in November of last year, has noticed the growth of cyber bullying: “I know that in our area a number of schools have experience things like smut lists and other things,” he said. “[A] list of young people and who they’ve been with. They’re usually not true but they have a strong impact on the kids.”

The Project

much ado image

Following last year’s performance, White Plains was approached by Weekly Reader‘s literary magazine, READ, to present the play in a way that would engage students nationally.

Weekly Reader has a bit of a history trying to make classic literature more palatable to younger audiences. It’s hard enough to get students (or anyone) to read a book let alone a play written in what sounds like a different language. They’ve adapted about 11 classic books into websites in the past five years, said Ira Wolfman, Weekly Reader’s Senior VP, including Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, which they turned into a site that plotted out the various stories in a colorful, interactive way. It’s all an attempt to get students excited about literature while instilling positive messages.

In that sense, Much Ado‘s integration with social media is a logical next step, even if the team is still trying to figure out how to do it. The students from White Plains worked with Weekly Reader to “reprise” their roles online. They created in-character profiles, took pictures, and filmed some scenes in advance. It was up to READ editor Bryon Cahill and writer Jeff Ives to figure out how to take the classic play and make it work on Facebook. Starting on April 26, the two will be writing out the status updates from the character profiles as if they were happening in real time while trying to interact and respond to any viewer comments or reactions.

The script will be peppered with content featuring students like Daniela Poppe who plays one of the lead roles of “Hero.” A natural singer, she auditioned for the High School play not knowing it would take on such a vibrant afterlife. “I think it’s a very creative idea,” Poppe said. “I think it’s a great way to make Shakespeare more, how do you say, comprehensible to teenagers, kids, and especially kids who don’t enjoy Shakespeare right away.”

She acts with Griffin Taylor who portrays “Claudio.” Taylor, also a singer, sees a huge potential for the online play to make a difference. “I’ve heard plenty of stories of how kids were harassed or hurt by things that were said because it’s so easy to put up a little status or say something,” he said. Putting the play on Facebook was a perfect way of not only addressing cyber bullying but tackling it at its source. “To be in a place where [cyber bullying] actually happens; you’re advertising at the scene of the crime.”

Next Step

text image

Despite its ambitions, the project is still has a lot of question marks. Wolfman said he was excited to start but admitted that he wasn’t sure how many people would be watching or how they would handle comments from users.

Although Weekly Reader publications reach approximately 200,000 teachers in the U.S., there has been some push-back to its attempt to digitize books. “Some teachers said ‘If you do this stuff, I’m cancelling [my subscription],’” Wolfman said. “There are other who said, ‘Yes, please do more.’ We know it’s a problematic issue but there are some teachers that realize that technology is not in opposition to literature; it can actually amplify it.”

To that end, the entire play will be posted on a separate Tumblr blog through screenshots taken through the performance. Th idea is that teachers and students can go back to the “show” and use it as a resource in the classroom. If it succeeds, Wolfman said he was open to trying more adaptations in the same style. For his part, Cronk hopes the next round can more actively feature the students and explore their creativity.

If Much Ado even gets close to its goals, it could have huge implications for how Facebook can be used to educate students both about classic literature and attached causes like cyber bullying. “I had no idea that it would blossom like his,” Taylor said of his role. “I mean, we had a great run in November and even that was enough to be completely overwhelmed with. And then with this project? I had no idea it would become something so special.”

Do you think it will work? Let us know in the comments below.

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

More About: cyber-bullying, education, facebook, Literature, much ado about nothing, non-profit, ophelia project, Shakespeare, social good, social media, white plains high school

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HOW TO: Get Started With Photo Blogging

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 12:16 PM PDT

The Digital Photo and Film Series is supported by Adobe® Photoshop® Elements. To connect with the product team, find creative tutorials, tips and information, join them on Facebook and Twitter.

The term “photo blog” has almost become redundant. Between the popularity of microblogging, and the fact that smartphones are capable of producing high-quality images, our digital communication has become increasingly photo-centric. We consume so much content in our digital lives, it seems we've developed a need for it to be presented in the simplest, most efficient way possible. Enter: the photo blog.

If Flickr gave us the photo-sharing bug, then services like Tumblr, yFrog, Instagram and even Foodspotting are making it standard practice.

So how can you get in on the action? There are a few basic rules. First, it should be said, a photo blog can be pretty much anything you want it to be, so long as your content is predominantly –- you guessed it — photos. These pics can be your own, pulled in from across the web, submitted by users or some combination of the three. Basically, when it comes to photo blogs, there are many options.

Here’s how to get started.

1. Pick a Platform

Determine if you are the creator, curator or ringleader?

If your motivation is simply to showcase your own photographs, then social functionality is probably low on the list while the ability to control use of your images is high. If you are curating images from around the web under an entertaining theme, then shareability is top of mind. If you're crowdsourcing submissions, then of course, your blog will benefit from a highly social, share-oriented platform.

Let's look at the top three free web-based, free platforms:

  • Blogger: Think: basic. Blogger is Google's blog platform, and it has a fast and painless set-up, easily editable templates and basic photo sharing utility.
  • WordPress: Think: high scalability, low social. WordPress is highly customizable and scalable, and it happens to feature lots of nifty photo blog plug-ins.
  • Tumblr: Think: simplified, ultra-social. Unlike Blogger or WordPress, Tumblr is a microblogging platform — it is a short-form blogging tool built on top of a social network. Tumblr offers a simple set-up, intuitive interface, customizable templates and, most importantly, a lot of social functionality. Users can follow each other, “reblog” or share content on their own blogs, like, comment or ask questions on Tumblr. The platform's emphasis on frequent, image-heavy posts is ideal for a photo blog, and its social functionality helps build an audience quickly. The downside is that with greater spread, comes less control over use or attribution.

2. Customize

Ask yourself what you want your viewers' experience to be.

Consistency is key –- whether it is the font for your captions or your overall design. Users should know what to expect when they visit your blog. A few key things to consider:

  • Always resize photos to the same dimensions (if possible).
  • Make any credits or captions as consistent as possible, both in language and appearance.
  • Be consistent with your posting schedule. Your fans may love you, but no one loves feeling spammed. Devise a schedule that can accommodate your influx of content and is appropriate for your viewers, even down to the time of day you post.
  • Ask yourself if your blog will benefit from functions like comments or question buttons. These things will alter the look and feel of your blog and can sometimes muddy a blog's tone.
  • If you are committed to making a photo blog, avoid posts of other media: video, text, audio. This not only changes the look and user experience, but can take away from your blog's narrative.

3. Promote

How do you want people to find you? Here are some tips:

  • Involve your audience. If your goal is to get people sharing and talking about your blog, try opening the lines of communication –- involve your audience. People are far more likely to share content they had a hand in creating. Consider opening contributions, comments, questions and opportunities for increased engagement.
  • Share the love. It sounds simple, but a little love can go a long way. Be a participant in your own world: feature fellow photo bloggers on your blogroll, or if you use Tumblr, you can “reblog” content or feature work from bloggers you like. They will likely to return the favor.
  • Pay attention! Above all, monitor your blog. Learn what your audience likes and make changes accordingly. Pay attention to how your content affects your traffic. Note which kinds of pics are getting reblogged or shared, and which have best responses.

And finally, here are a few examples of great photo blogs.

The Sartorialist

Platform: Blogger
What it is: The Sartorialist is a notable 'street fashion' blog showcasing photos taken by former fashion photographer Scott Schuman.
Why we like it: Simple, consistent image size and captions, clean format.

Sea Of Shoes

Platform: WordPress
What it is: Sea of Shoes is teen Jane Aldridge's 'personal style' blog, her blog has gained such a strong following in the fashion world, she has been called one of the most influential personal style bloggers.
Why we like it: Relatively clean layout, individual posts are sharable via Facebook and Twitter.

My Parents Were Awesome

Platform: Tumblr
What it is: Comedian/writer Eliot Glazer curates photos of 'awesome' parents submitted by their children.
Why we like it: Consistent image size and captions, crowdsourced, theme with strong audience appeal (personalized and thus tailored for sharing).

By now you're probably more than ready to take a break from reading about starting a photo blog and actually do it. If you have a photo blog, let us know in the comments.

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The Digital Photo and Film Series is supported by the Adobe® Photoshop® Elements product team. Adobe's® photo-editing software delivers powerful options that make it easy to create extraordinary photos, unique print creations, quickly share memories in online albums, and automatically organize and help protect your photos. Download a free trial of Adobe® Photoshop® Elements® 9 to try it out!

More Photography Resources from Mashable:

- iPhotography: 10 Pro Tips for Snapping Perfect iPhone Photos
- 15 Incredible iPhone Dog Photographs
- 7 Superb Short Films Shot With Cellphones
- 10 Essential Websites for iPhone Photographers
- 10 Incredible iPhone Portrait Photographs

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, alynst

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Facebook Updates Groups: What’s New

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 12:15 PM PDT

Facebook announced Monday updates to its Group feature that aim to make the platform a better place to share content within small networks.

Since private photo sharing platform Path and a host of group messaging companies have highlighted the importance of sharing within small groups, it seems Facebook is taking selective sharing more seriously as well.

In October, one month before Path launched, Facebook unveiled a new Groups feature that creates shared spaces where members can participate in communal group chats, email lists, document sharing and photo tagging.

Now the platform is improving this feature, as well as launching a “Send” button that creates a more specific sharing alternative to the all-friends “Like” button.

You can expect to see these updates on Group pages starting Monday.

  • Admin Control: The Group admin now has an option to maintain new member approval power.
  • Questions: You can now use Facebook’s new poll-like Questions feature within groups.
  • Photo Albums: Members of Groups can already share photos with each other easily. Now they can share entire albums the same way.
  • Group Search: Like Gmail, you can now search through the posts in a Facebook Group to easily find content. This feature will roll out slowly throughout the next week.

What do you think of Facebook’s new Group features? Are there any other features you would like to see? Let us know in the comments.

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Facebook Launches Send Button, Replaces Email to a Friend

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 12:04 PM PDT

Facebook launched its Send button Monday, in a bid to improve the functionality of Groups as well as replace the classic “email to a friend” button.

“Send” is intentionally similar, in look and feel, to the Like button. Click on Send and a pop-up appears, allowing you to send that article or page to friends, groups or any email address. You can then add a message and send the page to friends’ inboxes or post it to a Group wall.

The button is designed to make it easier for users to share content with close groups of friends, Facebook product manager Austin Haugen explained to Mashable. He cited an increasingly popular trend: users posting a commerce site to a Group to figure out what gift to buy for a friend.

Another important detail: Send counts toward the total number of Likes a page has. The Like total is now calculated by adding the number of Likes, shares, comments and inbox messages containing a URL.

More than 50 websites are launching the Send button, including Gilt Groupe, 1-800-Flowers, The Wall Street Journal, Orbitz,, The Huffington Post, and The Washington Post. The Send button’s code is also now available on Facebook’s Developer Website. And as with the Like button, it only takes a few lines of code to get the Send button running on a website.

If the implementations we’ve seen so far are any indication, Send will become Facebook’s next Like button — which celebrated its first birthday last week and is installed on more than 10,000 websites every week. The Send button is designed to be Like’s companion, focused on private sharing rather than public sharing features. And since Send includes the ability to share articles via email, the classic “email to a friend” functionality available on millions of websites is rendered obsolete.

Will the Send button become as ubiquitous as the Like button? Let us know in the comments.

More About: facebook, Facebook groups, like, like button, Send Button

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Why Sharing Online Content Might Be Too Easy

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 11:17 AM PDT

David Spark is a veteran tech journalist reporting for the branding firm Liquid Agency. Read more on branding at Liquid Agency’s blog. Follow Spark on Twitter @dspark.

On Twitter, a well-known chef recommends a restaurant in your town. You trust the chef. You trust his advice. What's more, he gave you a local recommendation. As a result, your esteem of the chef increases. You begin following him. You retweet his review. Others may as well. You may not remember the restaurant he recommended, but you do value the chef's opinion, and it was just strengthened thanks to his latest review.

This phenomenon of brand value coming back to the recommender is a behavior we see time and again, according to James Buckhouse, head of corporate marketing for Twitter.

Every connection in the Twitter message chain — following, @replying and retweeting — is a reputation statement, explained Randy Farmer, co-author of Building Web Reputation Systems.

In the statement "Chef X recommends Restaurant Y," the primary effect is the value of the chef recommending a restaurant. The transitive effect is the restaurant being recommended. "Sometimes we don't get to the transitive effect," Farmer said.

Are we consciously aware of it? Are we sharing just to boost our own brand?

Can You Build a Brand Just By Sharing Links?

AddToAny, a social media sharing tool, ran a study this year on the social and personal brand effects of just sharing links.

The study showed that for the average sharer, they won't receive any significant recognition just sending out blind links, but "established influencers can sometimes ‘get away’ with blindly sharing headlines," said AddToAny's founder, Pat Diven II.

A blind share, according to Diven, is a link accompanied with a headline and no commentary. Since we can't determine if they were blindly sent or not, we'll refer to them as “plain” links. When established influencers share plain links, they receive on average a 400% higher clickthrough rate than a plain link from an average user. If that influencer provides thoughtful commentary, that clickthrough rate jumps to 500%, or a 20% increase from those links without commentary.

The most famous plain link tweeter is Guy Kawasaki. He and the others who manage his feed are unabashed about just tweeting links from his curated news service Alltop.

In general, it's difficult to tell if a person sharing a plain link actually read the content. But, in some cases, Diven could see that a few established influencers spent little to no time consuming the content they were sharing.

That doesn't mean the influencer would never consume the content, Diven said. They sometimes send out links and hope for responses.

"To those influencers, thoughtful responses to a thoughtless share are indicators that the content is worthy of further consumption," Diven continued.

AddToAny's data goes on to show that after receiving thoughtful responses, the influencers returned to the shared content and spent more time with it.

"People can increase their brand value solely through sharing," said Joe Fernandez, CEO of Klout, an online influencer rating service focused predominantly on Twitter.

Twitalyzer, another influence measuring service has noticed the same effect with their Twitter-based "impact" scores. "What we've discovered is people may retweet content just to increase their own scores," said Eric Peterson, the service’s CEO.

According to Twitalyzer's data, the top 500 link sharers have a 21% higher "impact" score than a random sample of 500 users. Twitalyzer's "impact" is a function of Twitter followers, retweets, @replies, and post frequency.

Plain link sharing, or as Diven calls it, "blind sharing," doesn't work in all cases.

"For those who lack influence, blind sharing is particularly ineffective — rarely producing engagement — much like shouting into a vacuum," said Diven.

In the case of Kawasaki's link-tweeting activity, he's been dubbed a top "curator" by Klout with a score of 82. Klout defines a "curator" as someone who is a mega sharer. Curators add no particular editorial on the content they share, said Fernandez. They just share.

In AddToAny's study, the clickthrough data shows that a plain link share from influencers is transferring some value to the sites they're recommending. But is this always the case? It would make sense to assume that consumption of content would be a positive multiple of all the social sharing. What can we deduce when we have evidence of consumption of content being a fraction of the people who are sharing?

When Sharing Exceeds Consumption

In all my interviews, everyone admitted at some level to sharing content without actually consuming it. They would send out a consumption-free share for the following reasons:

  • They trust the source of the content.
  • They like the title of the content.
  • They want to help a friend promote something.

In the last scenario, one developer I spoke to admitted he got hundreds of friends to pre-agree he could retweet his content via their Twitter accounts. Whenever he publishes an article, he hits a button and hundreds of automated retweets are sent through his friends' pre-approved accounts.

No one admitted to sharing just to build their own brand. It would be a rather brash statement to say so. Although there seems to be a fluid unconscious-to-conscious behavioral process that sharing someone else's content will improve one's brand.

None of this "sharing without consumption" behavior surprised me, but I thought these users were in the minority, and that it would never be pronounced enough to be noticeable. That was until I saw one of my own posted videos receive more shares than views. It was a low discrepancy, 52 shares and 48 views, and I didn't see any bot-like behavior. Still, it was clear to me that sharers were more interested in being seen as someone sharing my video, entitled "How do you get everyone to watch your video," rather than actually watching it.

My situation is not an anomaly. SocMetrics, an influencer identification service, was able to uncover 100 more similar cases of shares exceeding views. Similarly, most of these shares didn't show any bot-like behavior, although there were a handful of standouts that did.

Here are five with the greatest discrepancy (more shares than views).

Shares / Likes
Straight 2 Work
Vulcha Smooth – GET OFF
Vulcha Smooth – Hustle Hard (Freestyle)
Marcus Baker Introduction and Gift

Shares and views measured as of March 31, 2011

Indeed, even this article, by virtue of the Mashable brand, will likely fall victim to shares without consumption. I’ve watched hundreds of shares appear within minutes of my previous Mashable posts — far less time than it takes to read the article.

But given Mashable's stature, views will inevitably exceed shares. For others that don't have Mashable's strong brand, it's possible your clever title may only benefit the person sharing, and not transfer to your content.

Is it too easy to share?

"We've created a situation where sharing of information is rapidly becoming devalued because it's so easy to click the retweet button," said Twitalyzer's Peterson.

Farmer agrees and argues that we've made reviewing and sharing far too easy and frictionless. In the earliest states of any reputation system Farmer understands that developers want to make it as easy as possible for people to participate, share, rate, and review. You desperately need users. Any type of roadblock seems antithetical to building success.

"Long-term, the success of your reputation system will depend on quality, honest and unbiased opinions," Farmer said, "Don’t ask your users to provide opinions on things they haven’t experienced."

This seems rational, although many successful rating services allow you to review things you haven't experienced. No one on Yelp is checking to see if you’ve actually patronized a restaurant. Anyone can leave a review on Amazon, and YouTube lets you "Like" a video without even hitting the play button. All of these low-barrier sharing and rating systems have succeeded grandly, although the quality of their reviews are highly debatable.

Increase Your Brand by Being More Critical of Other Brands

AddToAny's research shows that adding commentary to a link increases personal brand, as measured by clickthroughs. What happens when that commentary is more selective and critical?

Holaba is a brand recommendation service based in China. People sign up for the service, create an account, rate and sometimes write reviews of brands. With 150,000 subscribers and 5,000 brands to rate and review, Holaba users develop their own personal brand by giving their opinions about other brands.

According to Holaba, the top 500 users, as determined by number of followers, are the most critical and selective about giving love/hate reviews in both quantity and severity, as compared to a randomly chosen group of 500 average users.

Top users write 139 more reviews than average users. On a scale from 1 to 10, the average users rate 56% of the brands a 9 or 10, while the top users only rate 19% of the brands a 9 or 10. In addition, the average user rates fewer brands negatively (only 16% rate 0 to 6) vs. the top users (30% rate 0 to 6).

"Only praise might give the potential followers the impression that this person is just like an ad," said Jan Van der Bergh, Holaba's founder. "Adding critical/negative notes seems to help to be considered as a trustworthy recommender."

The Brand Rich Continue to Get Richer Off of Others

From all these results, one assumption that can be made is that if you already have a brand (e.g., you’re a well known chef) you can continue to build your brand solely by making recommendations. The ease of being able to share content with your entire audience affords you the luxury of sharing without consuming.

When we see evidence of limited time on site before sharing, or when sharing exceeds consumption, we can make a strong assumption that people have limited the only interaction with the content to be the act of sharing. This could be an unconscious or conscious attempt to build one's own brand.

So what? Does it matter if someone shares without consuming? Your message is getting out there.

The danger of sharing without consuming is that those following the sharers can continue the cycle, with more people sharing without consuming. When this continues, the meat of the dialogue soon becomes the act of the share, rather than the conversation that can come from viewing and interpreting the recommendation.

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

More About: klout, personal brand, sharing, social media, twitter

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Pipeline Fund Aims To Help Balance Gender Ratios in the Startup World

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 10:51 AM PDT

A recently launched organization, Pipeline Fund Fellowship, will train women how to be angel investors, but its goals extend beyond increasing the number of women in the investor community. The project hopes to increase investments in social ventures and empower female entrepreneurs at the same time.

Ten women have already been selected to participate in the program. Some, like NY Tech Meetup co-founder Dawn Barber, are well acquainted with the startup world, and others come from fields ranging from finance to dentistry. At sign up, they each agreed to contribute $5,000 to the company that the group selects at the conclusion of five workshops on investing. Tuition is $1,000.

Pipeline Fund Fellowship founder Natalia Oberti Noguera hopes educating women investors will help balance a couple of ratios. The first is the visible gender imbalance in the investor community. Only about 13% of angel investments in 2010 were made by women, according to a report from the University of New Hampshire.

The second is a similar imbalance in the entrepreneur community. Just 13% of entrepreneurs who received angel funding were women, according to the same report. Which is why the women participants of the Pipeline Fund Fellowship will make a cumulative investment in a woman-led company at the end of the program.

There’s also, ambitiously, a third problem that Pipeline Fund hopes to tackle: funding for social ventures.

“It’s very hard for for-profit social ventures to get funding,” says Oberti Noguera, who also founded the New York City chapter of Young Women Social Entrepreneurs. “Traditional investors hear the words ‘social and environmental responsibility’ and get scared. Traditional philanthropists hear the word ‘for-profit’ and get scared.”

Oberti Noguera had little problem recruiting women for the first program in New York. About 50 of them applied after hearing about it either through her personal network or through press about Pipeline Fund. The next challenge is finding companies that fit into the rather specific category of “women-led, for-profit social venture.”

Pipeline Fund Fellowship has just started accepting applications from such companies that want to attend its pitch summit in June. One of them will be the company that the group decides to invest in.

Similar programs are planned to launch in San Francisco and Los Angeles next year.

More About: funding, pipeline fund, startups, women investors

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Online Form Builder Wufoo Acquired by SurveyMonkey

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 10:33 AM PDT

Do-it-yourself survey company SurveyMonkey is acquiring Wufoo, a startup that lets users build online forms. Wufoo was one of the first companies to graduate from Y Cominbator’s accelerator program in the winter of 2006.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but TechCrunch cites a source who puts the purchase price at $35 million. The entire Wufoo team will be relocating to Palo Alto and become assimilated inside the SurveyMonkey organization.

“Wufoo is the market leader in online form creation and a perfect fit for SurveyMonkey,” SurveyMonkey Dave Goldberg says of the acquisition.

“You can actually expect it to be business as usual after today,” a Wufoo blog post on the news reads. “Just to be clear — SurveyMonkey is not interested in dismantling what we've built. Quite the contrary, actually. They want to nurture it and spread it as far and wide as possible.”

SurveyMonkey, founded in 1999, raised $100 million in debt financing in November of last year. The company said at the time that the money would be used to cover operating costs and debt, as well as position it to make strategic acquisitions like the one announced Monday.

More About: acquisition, surveymonkey, wufoo, y combinator

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Tesla CEO Says He’ll Put Humans on Mars Within the Next 20 Years

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 10:20 AM PDT

If Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX has his way, humans will take their first step onto Mars in 10 years.

Musk said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal last week that a 10-year timeline was his “best-case scenario” for reaching the planet. Worst case, he said, would be 15 to 20 years.

Musk, also the co-founder of PayPal, founded SpaceX in 2002 to develop launch vehicles for exploring and developing space. The company has already built several rockets suitable for launching cargo, but its stated goal is to send humans to space.

“I want SpaceX to help make life multi-planetary. I’d like to see a self-sustaining base on Mars,” Musk said in the interview, most of which focused on Tesla. “…We want to be the shipping company that brought people from Europe to America or the Union-Pacific Railroad. Our goal is to facilitate the transfer of people and cargo to other planets.”

NASA’s own human spaceflight programs were recently cut, but the organization has been hiring outside companies to devise alternatives. Last week NASA awarded SpaceX a $75 million contract to enable one of the company’s spacecraft to carry astronauts.

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YouTube Video of the Day: Woman Makes Origami Crane With Her Tongue

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 10:05 AM PDT

This is for anyone out there who’s so uncoordinated that they can’t even handle making a paper airplane. (Points to self.) Check out this woman twisting a Starburst wrapper into a paper crane with her tongue.

We’re not entirely sure that this amazing feat — captured by Charles Trippy of Internet Killed Television — is real, but to quote Fox Mulder’s famous inspirational poster: “I want to believe.”

Do you have any hidden skills?

More About: humor, pop culture, video, viral video, viral-video-of-day, youtube

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Steve Jobs Responds to iOS Location-Tracking Controversy

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 09:40 AM PDT

As users and politicians continue to ask questions about the discovery of a location history database built into iOS, Apple is finally addressing the issue. Well, kind of.

MacRumors reports that one of its readers sent an email to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, asking for clarification and explanations regarding the “consolidated.db” file built into iOS. The existence of the file — which appears to keep a log of longitude and latitude coordinates from cell triangulation towers — was brought to mainstream attention last week after data researchers created a Mac OS X app that was able to generate a visualization of the data using the file from an iOS iTunes backup.

Jobs’s response, according to MacRumors, was to call the “info circulating” false.

The reader’s email said:

Could you please explain the necessity of the passive location-tracking tool embedded in my iPhone? It’s kind of unnerving knowing that my exact location is being recorded at all times. Maybe you could shed some light on this for me before I switch to a Droid. They don’t track me.

Jobs’s purported response was:

Oh yes they do. We don’t track anyone. The info circulating around is false.

Tabling the issue of Android location-tracking for a moment, the “false” information seems to refer to reports that Apple actually collects the data that is stored on the phone, rather than the existence of the cellular location logs themselves.

Although we have our own questions — and concerns — about unencrypted cellular location logs being stored in iTunes backups, it’s important to understand that the local existence of a file or database does not mean that the same information is accessible to anyone without access to the physical phone or a computer where the phone has been backed up.

Moving onto the issue of Android and its own location history tracking, Magnus Eriksson built a tool that parses two location database caching files present on Android devices. These cache files collect similar information as the “consolidated.db” file in iOS, the difference is data is pruned when new information is added. The result is that the history of a user’s location is much more limited than in iOS.

Moreover, because Android doesn’t have a desktop-side backup client, these cache files are not ever backed up to a user’s computer.

As of right now, there is no evidence that any of the cellular triangulation data stored on an iPhone or Android device is transmitted elsewhere. That doesn’t eliminate the concerns that iOS users may have over the existence of an unencrypted file that can be backed up to their system, but it does significantly mitigate the risk of said data.

More About: apple, iOS, location, privacy, security, trending

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Yahoo Acquires TV-Tagging Startup IntoNow for $20M to $30M

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 09:17 AM PDT

Just 12 weeks post launch, IntoNow, makers of an iPhone app that “listens to” and tags television shows, is being acquired by Yahoo.

Yahoo is announcing the deal Monday morning sans terms, but our sources confirm that the price is somewhere between $20 million and $30 million, and IntoNow will get 80% of the total purchase price in cash and the rest in stock options.

IntoNow’s seven-person team will join Yahoo. The product will remain independent for the time being, and the team’s next priority will be to push out an Android application as fast as possible.

IntoNow splashed on to the seen in early January with its extraordinary iPhone app for tagging TV shows using its patented SoundPrint technology. The startup has since partnered with MTV and Pepsi. The latter marked its first foray into ad-tagging and presented the startup with a viable avenue to monetize its technology.

During its short lifespan, the startup attracted the attention of multiple venture capitalists and potential buyers, according to our sources, who were eager to invest. IntoNow opted to work with Yahoo instead as it believes it can build out its TV and ad-tagging experience at a much bigger scale.

As of last week, IntoNow was closing in on 600,000 users and averaging 25,000 to 35,000 tags per day.

More About: acquisition, IntoNow, startups, Yahoo

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Multimedia Reporting Tool Storify Now Available to Public

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 09:15 AM PDT

Storify, a tool that enables professional and citizen journalists to craft multimedia narratives by dragging and dropping articles, tweets, Flickr photos and online videos onto a single, embeddable page, has entered public beta.

The product, beloved by bloggers, PR professionals and major news organizations alike, has been in private beta since September. More than 5,000 sites, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR have embedded Storify stories, amassing more than 13 million views, 4.2 million of which were accumulated in March alone.

In February, Storify announced a $2 million round of funding from venture capital firm Khosla Ventures. No concrete business model has yet emerged.

To learn more about Storify, check out the video introduction above, and see the product in action in the demo below.

Storify Announcement, Using Storify

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One Year Later: What Marketers Have Learned About Facebook’s Open Graph

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 09:00 AM PDT

The Facebook Marketing Series is supported by Buddy Media, Power Tools for Facebook. Fans see when you post content on your brand’s Facebook Page, right? Wrong. Cut through the mystery of Facebook’s Edgerank — download the white paper now.

"Social platforms would now focus on the Web, not social networks themselves." That’s how Mark Zuckerberg described Facebook's vision when he announced the Open Graph in April 2010. Speaking at the f8 Developer Conference, Zuckerberg described an enhanced Facebook API and supporting tools that would give marketers new ways to make sense of a user's preferences, passions and connections, which he characterized at as the “objects” of their lives.

Zuckerberg recognized that a user might live in San Francisco, work at Wells Fargo, listen to R.E.M., play tennis, eat at Chipotle and be friends with a number of people — but that Facebook by itself can't map out these and other “objects.” Pandora, for example, knows a lot more about a user's musical taste. But working together with these companies using Facebook’s Open Graph, a personalized Web with users each at the center of their own online experience could be created.

Now, one year later, the Open Graph is showing some effective traction in the marketing world. Here is a look at how it is working for (and with) marketers on its first anniversary.

How the Open Graph Works: A Quick Hands-On Demo

Anyone can take the Open Graph for a test drive (as long as they aren't blocked from Facebook via firewall). Just type “[any Facebook username]” into a browser, and the Open Graph will show you very basic information for that user. If you try “[any Facebook username]/friends,” the Open Graph might politely inform you that you don't have permission to access the list of friends, as Facebook privacy settings apply to the Open Graph. To access a user’s “basic information,” you would need to ask the user for permission to do so. To get an idea of what the Open Graph would have provided if you did have the proper permission, you can view the Open Graph data samples and see what kind of information you could glean about your own friends, likes, groups and even your checkins. (Facebook will create a temporary permission token for whoever is signed into Facebook on the browser being used to see the samples it provides).

Now imagine that you had permission to “access my friends’ information" — you would be able to see many of the same fields for all of the user's friends. (Although, everyone's privacy settings are respected, and items like email addresses aren't provided without direct personal permission.)

With this data, you would be able to customize your marketing based on the fact that some of your customers know each other and that they share interests. In other words, this is where good social media marketers really start earning their paychecks.

Social Plugins: Building the Open Graph One “Like” at a Time

The Open Graph is voraciously hungry and the Like button is primarily responsible for feeding it with fresh data. The Like button is the best known of Facebook’s “Social Plugins” but there are eight other plugins, as well, including those for comments, activity streams, logins and more.

The Open Graph includes semantic markup for “likes” that helps it to understand what is being “liked” and to display it in the newsfeed. Websites can take advantage via a series of tags in the header (non-display) section of their page. For example, the tag "og:description" provides one or two sentences to display in the newsfeed, and "og:image" specifies which thumbnail picture to use.

Some tags don't affect the newsfeed display, but they do help the Open Graph to classify the “like.” Fox TV, for example, uses tags to tell the Open Graph that several pieces of content on its site are about the show Glee ("og:title") and that Glee is a TV show ("og:type") on Fox ("og:site_name"). The important implication is that as Open Graph usage develops the same user might sign into a site like Hulu or Netflix and be offered personalized content based in part on their “likes” from Fox.

Facebook provides documentation on these tags on its Open Graph page, and you can see how the Open Graph reads any page using Facebook’s URL linter tool.

Facebook Connect

Facebook Connect is a popular feature that offers users the option to sign into external sites using their Facebook ID, thus bringing their friend network with them. Launched in 2008, Facebook Connect predates the Open Graph, which can now duplicate its functionality. But since the Facebook Connect logo has developed public equity, it will very likely be around for awhile. The benefit of Facebook Connect is that it doesn't require users to create yet another password and, once signed in, users are more likely to grant permission to have their Open Graph data accessed.

And on some websites, like the Levi's Friend Store, signing in via Facebook Connect is actually a requirement. "We use the Open Graph to make shopping fun and social buying a reality," says Megan O'Connor, Levi's director of digital and social marketing, of the online store's objectives. Once connected, users can browse their friend's “likes” by product category. They can also view the recent “likes” of other Facebook users outside of their network. Upcoming friend's birthdays are conveniently highlighted, too, to encourage you to shop for friends.

O'Connor says she’s seen a positive effect on product mix from Facebook Connect. "The people using Facebook Connect tend to be more fashion-forward and selective in their shopping — it has brought us a new type of customer," she says.

But the average Facebook user has only 130 friends, which means that even a household name like Levi's will face situations in which no friend has yet “liked” the right product that will help someone with a purchase decision; the challenge is even greater for smaller brands. O'Connor still sees value in Connect for Levi’s: "Sometimes it is about a small band of customers with high engagement around a smaller community," she says.

Facebook Instant Personalization

The cutting edge for Open Graph integration is Instant Personalization, which is currently available to eight approved partners, including Yelp and Pandora. If a user is currently logged into Facebook, Instant Personalization allows sites to use Open Graph data without an additional login.

One of the eight partners is TripAdvisor, which had tried to set up its own traveler network, but found it difficult to do so. "People don't want another social network" says Adam Medros, TripAdvisor's VP of global product. "Most of them already have a network on Facebook and have to be strongly incentivized to create another." TripAdvisor adopted Facebook Connect in 2009 and saw a lift in engagement; things got even better with the introduction of Instant Personalization.

"Some people didn't want to push the Connect button, but they found that they have a much better experience when given its benefits," Medros says. "The Open Graph data boosts engagement, and any complaints have been practically nonexistent. We've had less than 1% opt-out and customer dissatisfaction seems as close to zero as possible.”

The centerpiece of TripAdvisor's Open Graph integration is its "Cities I've Visited" map, which uses Instant Personalization to create a map showing the user's friends’ journeys.

The map is an example of how a site can take the connections and basic data of the Open Graph and supplement with data from within its own vertical market. On its own, Facebook might be able to collect limited travel data from profiles and “likes,” but it can't cover everyone's vertical market in detail. Thus, TripAdvisor created an engaging app to collect this vertical data and made it available on Facebook and on its own site. The Open Graph then provided the connections, which make the data more valuable in a social context.

After one year, this may be the most important lesson learned about the Open Graph. Mark Zuckerberg warned that Facebook won't map out everything for everybody. Sites need to continually collect data on their own because, once they do, the Open Graph can help them present it in a social context that can be extremely valuable to anyone making an online purchase, investment or just deciding on a new favorite web resource.

Series Supported by Buddy Media

The Facebook Marketing Series is supported by Buddy Media, Power Tools for Facebook. Fans see when you post content on your brand’s Facebook Page, right? Wrong. Cut through the mystery of Facebook’s Edgerank — download the white paper now.

More Facebook Marketing Resources from Mashable:

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

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Guitar Center Offers New Podcast Featuring The Dears

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 08:47 AM PDT

Guitar Center doesn’t just provide instruments for musicians; it also dishes out knowledge in the form of a recently launched podcast called At: Guitar Center. The newest podcast features Canadian indie rock band The Dears, following the release of its fifth studio album, Degeneration Street.

Guitar Center provided us with the above video, which shows the band performing “Thrones” at the store during the podcast.

"It all started with our TV show [Guitar Center Sessions on DirectTV],” says Dustin Hinz, director of music and entertainment marketing at Guitar Center. “When we were booking the show, we were coming across all these really great artists. So we started to think about how we could continue to create great content, inspiring content, for emerging artists. We talked to Nic Harcourt (the host of Guitar Center Sessions) about doing a podcast with all of these other bands that we couldn't get on TV."

The first artist to participate was Quincy Jones. "Quincy doesn't perform, so it really doesn't make sense for TV, but the guy's a living legend and it's one of the greatest interviews I've ever experienced,” Hinz says. “We thought, we have to get this out there because it's so inspiring and we want as many musicians as possible to experience it."

And that’s the idea behind the show — to inspire Guitar Center’s customers: musicians. “The web amplifies the access. With the Internet and podcasts, we can put our content out there, our consumers and music fans can access it when they're ready to access it and digest it when appropriate for them, ” Hinz says.

“We can focus on topics that are maybe less mainstream and more pertinent to our customers' needs,” he adds. “The art of creation, how maybe an artist is crafting a specific tone, their studio techniques. Things that the masses might not necessarily be interested in.”

Hinz and Co. chose The Dears — who have been on the music scene, with varying lineups, for more than a decade now — for this most recent podcast because they were intrigued by the band’s creative process and story.

“We put a great deal of effort into our work,” the band tells us of its new disc [iTunes link]. “We hope that everyone gets it. They don’t necessarily. At least, not until they’ve had their very own ‘meltdown in A major.’”

“We made our first demos on ghettoblasters and four tracks,” the band says, explicating how its process has changed over the years. “Our first album was recorded on 1/2-inch tape. Our second album was recorded in Logic. Our latest album has tracks that were uploaded and downloaded. It bends the mind. You should have seen the keyboard rig we used to tour with.”

For more on the band’s process and new record, you can check out the Guitar Center podcast on which founding member Murray Lightburn and songwriter and guitarist Patrick Krief chat with Harcourt about the history of the band, their songwriting process and their preferred gear.

It’s available on the iTunes, Zune and BlackBerry networks, and at

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Barnes & Noble Nook Color Ad Celebrates Paper Books [VIDEO]

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 08:31 AM PDT

Though Barnes & Noble's updated Nook Color has a lot of new features to boast about, the inaugural ad campaign for the product makes a case for reading — with or without the device — rather than the ereader itself.

The company's "Read Forever" campaign launches with a 60-second spot featuring voices of avid readers vowing to keep up their passion.  "Till all the books are read and all the pens have all been put down, and everything there is to learn has been learned. Till tears are no longer shed and the zingers have all zinged, and the irony is all ironed out…I will read," intones the voiceover to the spot, which is read by various narrators.

The commercial, by ad agency Mullen, features non-actors who were spotted by the agency’s creative team in real-life reading situations. Interestingly, the ad shows people reading both on the Nook Color and via standard, paper books. “We see people reading on books and on the Nook and we wanted to celebrate it,” says Sasha Norkin, vice president of digital marketing for Barnes & Noble. “The Nook is optimized for the reading experience.” Norkin adds that other marketing outreach efforts, including in-store, will educate consumers about the Nook’s specific features.

Barnes & Noble launched Nook last year at this time with anad following a woman’s progression as a reader from Where the Wild Things Are to Pride and Prejudice and finally What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Like the current ad, the communication didn’t touch on price and functionality, though a November TV spot for Nook Color spot did.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s ads for its Kindle ereader have taken the opposite tack. An ad the company introduced last September touted both the fact that the Kindle can be read outdoors by the pool and that it was only $139. Subsequent Amazon ads have been much more lifestyle focused and Apple-like.

Al Ries, chairman of Ries & Ries, a branding consultancy, says it makes sense for Barnes & Noble to focus on hardcore readers. “A lot of people don’t read books at all,” he says. “I suspect it’s like the 80/20 rule — 20% of people do 80% of the reading, so those 20% are going to be into ereaders, no question about it.

More About: advertising, barnes & noble, MARKETING, nook color

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Guard Dismissed After Calling Kate Middleton “Stuck Up Cow” on Facebook

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 08:21 AM PDT

A Buckingham Palace guard has been dismissed from his royal wedding day duties after calling bride-to-be Catherine (Kate) Middleton a “stuck up cow” and “posh bitch” on Facebook.

Eighteen-year-old Scots Guardman Cameron Reilly (pictured), who lists “causing trouble” and “super-strength lager” among his interests on his since-removed Facebook profile, wrote of Catherine and Will: “hur and william drove past me on friday n all a got was a shitty wave while she looked the opposite way from me, stupid stuck up cow am a not good enough for them! posh bitch am totally with u on this 1 who reely gives a f*** about hur.”

Reilly, who joined the army last year, was scheduled to be among the several hundred Scots Guards lining the route of the wedding procession from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace on Friday.

Reilly is also being investigated for racist and anti-Semitic comments left on the site, the UK Press Association reports. Among the items: “a was gonae put a few rifles in ma bergan anaw but then a remembered a couldnt fit any in cause a had 2 many paki’s scalps in it already.”

The Ministry of Defence said in a statement: “In view of the nature of the allegation, it would not be appropriate for the individual to be on parade for The Royal Wedding.”

[via The Huffington Post]

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Music Monday: Peter, Bjorn & John Get Up Close and Personal in Mini Documentary for New Album

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 08:05 AM PDT

When Peter, Bjorn & John set out to create their newest album, Gimme Some, they decided to strip down to essentials, penning a disc that replicates the experience of attending one of the band’s live shows. The first few shows at which they tested out said material were captured by directors Jamie Margolin and Dezi Catarino in the video featured above for your viewing pleasure.

Peter, Bjorn & John had already decided to play a house party as well as a few other unconventional gigs,” Margolin and Catarino say. “Initially we wanted our film to cover the unique experience Peter, Bjorn & John were providing their fans. But in the end what really captured us was their humble approach to making cool music.”

"It was a couple of hectic days and we had a couple of small, semi-secret shows,” says the band’s Peter Morén. “It was really fun, because it was the first gigs we did performing the new album before people had heard it. It was really good to get going that way with the new record."

Gimme Some [iTunes link] is the band’s sixth album, the most well-known probably being 2006′s Writer’s Block [iTunes link], which garnered the band a lot of attention for whistley jam, “Young Folks.” Many reviewers have been heralding Gimme Some — which came out in March — as a return to the poppiness of Writer’s Block (2009′s Living Thing was a little too experimental for some — although it was a rad disc, IMHO).

"The record is a bit of a return to our early roots — even the stuff before Writer's Block,” says Morén. “How we sounded in the early days when people didn't know us. For this record we wanted to capture what we do on stage. So it's based on guitar, bass and drums and a live feel. Sure, it's poppier, but it's also rockier. It's pop 'n' roll."

"These songs are very direct and the audience could feel the energy. We are suited well to perform these kinds of songs,” he adds. “People picked them up really quickly — it was a good atmosphere."

Although the disc is packed with catchy jams, myriad themes lie beneath the pop ‘n’ roll surface: from falling in love (“Eyes”) to witnessing your own funeral (“May Seem Macabre”) to disdain for the Swedish monarchy (“Cool Off”).

"It's about relationships and anger and depression,” Morén says of the album.

And all of that comes through during the band’s live shows — up there in front of small crowds like the ones in the video.

The intimacy of the shows featured in the vid mimics, in some ways, the manner in which the band interacts with fans — even in the realm of social media.

"We do it ourselves,” says Morén of the band’s Twitter and Facebook presences. “We like to keep it that way, on a grassroots level so we can put our touch on it, our humor. We're that kind of band. We tend to go out into the audience afterwards and talk to them. We don't have a mystical image. We don't hide behind any masks. I think it's good to have that personal level.”

Experience that “personal level” this week, when the band kicks off its next tour.

More About: gimme-some, music, music monday, peter-bjorn-john, video, writers-block

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Team Coco Gets Behind World Malaria Day [VIDEO]

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 07:46 AM PDT

Conan O’Brien is joining the illustrious team of do-gooders trying to put a stop to malaria. The video features comedians Sarah Silverman, Elizabeth Banks and cast members from The Office all raising awareness for Malaria No More, a non-profit that aims to end malaria deaths in Africa — where a child dies from the disease every 45 seconds — by 2015.

Malaria has always been a serious problem but the cause has received some serious support in recent years. Bill Gates made malaria eradication a top priority in his foundation’s annual letter, and celebrities from all walks of life have joined the cause.

The video could not be timed any better as today, April 25, is World Malaria Day. Several organizations besides Malaria No More have joined the fight, including Roll Back Malaria,, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the U.N.’s World Health Organization.

What do you think of the video? Do celebrities help bring light to important causes? Do celebrity faces inspire you to get involved? Sound off in the comments.

More About: charity, malaria, malaria no more, non-profit, social good, world malaria day

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