Mashable: Latest 9 News Updates - including “Nintendo Confirms Wii Successor For 2012”

Mashable: Latest 9 News Updates - including “Nintendo Confirms Wii Successor For 2012”

Nintendo Confirms Wii Successor For 2012

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 02:58 AM PDT

Nintendo has officially confirmed it will launch a successor to its vastly popular gaming console Wii in 2012.

Nintedo has sold 86.01 million Wiis from 2006, when the console was launched, to the end of March 2011. However, in 2010 the company sold only 15.1 million Wiis – a 25% drop from 2009 when it sold 20.1 million units globally.

The company also revealed its yearly financial results for 2010, marking a big drop in net profit which was $825 million – 66 percent less than in 2009.

The declining Wii sales paired with the shoddy financial results make this a perfect moment for Nintendo to announce the next version of Wii. A “2012 launch” is as vague as launch dates come, but Nintendo promised to have a playable unit, as well as more details and specifications of the upcoming Wii model, at the E3 Expo, which is held June 7-9, 2011, in Los Angeles.

More About: console, gaming, Nintendo, nintendo wii, Wii, Wii 2

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Acer Iconia Tab A500 Now Available for $450

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 01:43 AM PDT

Acer’s Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablet has arrived on schedule, bringing an interesting array of features for a very competitive price.

The Acer Iconia Tab A500 features a 10.1-inch screen 1280×800 TFT WXGA screen, an Nvidia Tegra 250 1GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of flash storage (with the possibility of extending the storage capacity up to 32 GB via a Micro-SD card). It’s got a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front one for video chats, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a USB 2.0 port and a battery that should last around 10 hours if you’re using the device for browsing the web.

While those specifications sound very similar to those of another Android 3.0 tablet, the Motorola Xoom, Acer’s tablet does have the advantage of a brushed aluminum back and a much lower price.

The Acer Iconia Tab is available at Best Buy.

More About: Acer, Acer Iconia Tab, android, honeycomb, Tablet

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Interactive Digital Frame Lets Grandma Respond to Emailed Pics [REVIEW]

Posted: 24 Apr 2011 04:54 PM PDT

Grandma doesn’t know it yet, but she wants a Kodak Pulse digital picture frame. Kodak just began shipping Pulse version 2.0, adding interactive capabilities that’ll let her respond to the pictures you send to it via email. We put it to the test, finding it to be simple enough for even the most technically averse moms, dads or grandparents to use.

On Easter or Passover, maybe you enjoyed visiting with your older relatives, and the conversation might have turned to staying in touch with each other, and maybe even social networking. They might not be ready for social networking (you tried to talk them into it, didn’t you?), but this Kodak Pulse will solve the problem of staying in touch with each other.

Easy as pie. If those loved ones have a wireless network, all they have to do is plug in the Kodak Pulse picture frame, and its touchscreen leads them through an easy set of menus, getting the frame to the point where you can set it up remotely using a browser-based interface. Once you’ve chosen an email address specifically for the picture frame and entered its secret number, you can email pictures to grandma’s picture frame, or configure it to receive pictures from your Facebook account.

Emailing a pic to grandma’s picture frame is nothing new, though. That capability has been available from Kodak and others for a while now, included in the first version of this Kodak Pulse picture frame. In fact, that emailing capability first appeared four years ago in the relatively primitive eStarling picture frame that I reviewed here. But digital picture frames have come a long way since then, and this Kodak Pulse takes the concept the furthest yet with its ability to let users respond to pictures they’ve received.

Going social. Even if grandma is not involved in social networking at all, she can get an elementary taste of it when you email pictures to the Kodak Pulse. Its new interface (see it up close in the gallery below) offers “quick comments,” a dozen abbreviated responses to received pictures, including “Nice picture,” “Fun!” “Strange,” and “Congrats,” and some grandma might not understand at first, such as “LOL” and “OMG.” With a quick touch, it’s easy to fire off one of those canned responses. There’s no keyboard capability, but in the case of those technologically challenged individuals who might own such a frame, perhaps an on-screen keyboard would be more of a detriment than an advantage.

So what else is new? Besides that response capability, Kodak has upgraded the hardware with an activity sensor that conserves power when no one’s around. Cool idea. More good news for Kodak picture frame users: That “quick comment” capability, as well as the ability to create a playlist and rotate pictures on the device’s touchscreen will also be available to version 1.0 users in a firmware update.

Available in 7-inch ($130, we’ve seen its predecessor discounted to below $100) and 10-inch ($200) sizes (Kodak lent us the 7-inch unit for our review here), its 800×600 screen has the same aspect ratio as photos from most digital cameras. The screen is sharp and bright, and while its viewing angle is slightly shallower than I would like, it’s just good enough. And its capacitive touchscreen is nicely responsive, much more so than the resistive touchscreen on the Chumby I reviewed a couple of weeks ago.

After spending some time with this Kodak Pulse digital picture frame, it’s obvious that Kodak understands the market for this device. There can’t be anything complicated about it, and it has to just work. Kodak has accomplished that, creating a quality product at a reasonable price. That new ability to respond to pictures adds an extra dimension to a digital picture frame. If you’re looking for a gift for a technologically uninterested mom, dad or your grandparents, a digital picture frame might do the trick, and this one’s the best I’ve seen.

It's Thin

The 7 inch model has a small footprint.

Rear View

Unfortunately, the fixed support in the back won't let you use it in portrait mode.

Looks Like an iPhone 1?

Is it me, or is this a copy of a familiar device?

Browser-Based Setup

Screenshot from Chrome browser on a PC: Here's where you can add pictures to your frame from your PC or Mac, using a browser.


You can link up your Facebook account here, and it will display all your pictures on the frame. Or, you can send your photos up to Kodak's online gallery.

Touchscreen Interface

It's about as easy to use as it gets.

Received Pics Interface

When you've received a pic, a small icon pops up that let you choose to display and/or respond to it.

Canned Responses

There are a dozen response choices, keeping things simple. But some will wish for a keyboard.

More About: digital picture frame, Gifts, Grandma, Interactivity, Kodak pulse, review

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3D Projection Mapping: 10 Jaw-Dropping Examples [VIDEOS]

Posted: 24 Apr 2011 02:55 PM PDT

Generating extra buzz around marketing campaigns worldwide is 3D projection mapping, a relatively new technology that animates stationary objects with 3D video. With added sound effects and music, the result is a remarkable and immersive experience.

“Projection mapping can provide a great double whammy if used right, because you get a great live event, followed by a compelling video and PR opportunities. But, if that’s the aim it’s important to think about the film when planning the projection — the sense of scale you get live won’t be replicated on YouTube,” cautions Matt Smith, director of strategy for The Viral Factory.

“Good camera work, slick editing, and a rocking soundtrack will all help drive the film, but if the projection is too detailed it will still get lost.”

So, while we wait to see if this a temporary craze or soon to become standard in the marketeer’s toolbox, take a look through our gallery of great examples of such projections on buildings. This list is by no means exhaustive, so please let us know about any impressive versions you’ve seen in the comments below.

1. Samsung 3D Projection

Samsung's whimsical projection to promote its 3D TV products works well.

2. Vienna 3D Building Projection

Vienna's Tourist Board gets in on the 3D projection action with this classy effort.

3. NuFormer

Sony turned two buildings into giant football-themed pinball machines in Madrid. The spectacle was watched by around 1500 people on the day, and by nearly 20,000 more since.

4. 3D Projection Mapped on Building

A perfectly synced soundtrack helps the effect as this building sings to the transfixed audience.

5. Hot Wheels Secret Race Battle

Customs House in Sydney, Australia gets virtually wrecked by Mattel's "Hot Wheels Skull Racers."

6. 3D Projection Mapping

The lucky residents of Sugarland, Texas got to witness this spectacle live on New Year's Eve 2010.

7. 555 KUBIK

This arty German projection imagines "how it would be, if a house was dreaming".

8. ACDC vs Iron Man 2

ACDC go up against Iron Man on the backdrop of front facade of the Great Keep at Rochester Castle.


BMW uses not one, but two office buildings in Singapore with its joy-themed projection.

10. Projection Mapping on the Kharkov State Building

You can hardly imagine a more impressive backdrop for a 3D projection than the Kharkov state building in the Ukraine. The building's architectural features are used to great effect in this brilliant example.

More Marketing Resources from Mashable

- 5 Tips to Strengthen Your Company's Social Media Voice
- 10 Online Strategies for Your Next Product Launch
- 10 Fascinating YouTube Facts That May Surprise You
- HOW TO: Engage and Mobilize Facebook Fans Beyond the "Like"
- 5 Masterminds Redefining Social Media Marketing

More About: 3D projection mapping, advertising, guerrilla marketing, List, Lists, MARKETING, trending, video, videos

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5 Quick Ways to Liven Up Your Twitter Stream

Posted: 24 Apr 2011 01:46 PM PDT

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

With a billion tweets per week, Twitter has become a place for people and organizations of all types to share their thoughts, reading lists and whereabouts. Real estate pros, politicians, non-profits, journalists and small businesses are all using the social platform to connect with their communities and meet organizational goals.

Whether you’re a Twitter novice or tweeting pro, there are always ways to improve your presence on the microblogging service. Here are five ways to make your Twitter stream more valuable and dynamic for followers.

1. Get Visual

A sampling of photos recently tweeted by Gregory’s Coffee

If you’re at a loss for words, try sharing pictures or videos instead. Multimedia adds a new layer to your tweets and lets followers into your business’s otherwise-unknown world.

Gregory’s Coffee, an espresso bar with three locations in New York City, operates a lively Twitter stream, loaded with behind-the-scenes photos of latte art, pastries and employees. The photos give the coffee shop a warm and cozy persona, inviting tweeps to venture over to the shop for a nice cup o’ Joe.

Brands are using photo sharing apps in creative ways to bring fans closer to the action. Using apps, like Instagram and PicPlz, smartphone photographers can take advantage of photo-editing tools, including filters, that can make any picture look more interesting.

2. Get Physical

Social technologies such as Twitter aim to connect people. But the digital world has, in some cases, made it more challenging to genuinely connect with those around us. At tech events, for example, it’s not uncommon to see a group of people standing in a circle, tapping away on their smartphones. Business people should be cognizant of how they are using social media and understand if their behaviors are hurting or benefiting their relationships.

One way to use Twitter for physically connecting with colleagues and customers is to tweet out when employees or reps are attending industry events or making appearances at related venues. Such tweets invite real-life interaction.

The GEM Hotel, a boutique hotel with three locations in New York City, maintains an active presence on Foursquare, checking in to nearby venues that embody the lifestyle of a GEM patron. The hotel occasionally shares its checkins via Twitter and automatically tweets when it “becomes mayor” or unlocks a badge on Foursquare, adding a bit of playfulness and humanity to its Twitter stream.

3. Get Personal

With humble beginnings, many small businesses live on their stories. Talk to a small business owner, and you’ll likely discover a passionate individual who is happy to share every small detail about his or her company’s founding. You’ll learn where it all began, what the founding idea was, how the company grew throughout the years and what unexpected lessons were learned along the way.

In the spirit of that small-time, homey feeling, small businesses on Twitter can tweet about family events, employee softball tournaments and personal anecdotes. There’s a fine line between adding a personal touch and going overboard, though. Boloco, a Boston-based burrito chain that has grown substantially since its first opening in 1997, understands that balance.

Boloco’s Twitter stream is mainly composed of tweets to individuals. Tweet after tweet, marketing maven Sara Steele-Rogers and CEO John Pepper answer questions for and converse with Boloco fans. The two add a more personal touch, though, when special occasions arise. For example, a couple recently got engaged at a Boloco location — and the team was quick to congratulate the love birds on Twitter. Tweets such as this add a personal and intimate flair that showcases a business’s appreciation for its fans.

4. Get Inspired

It’s difficult to be creative all the time — when you’re in a linguistic rut, turn to other tweeters for inspiration. For small businesses, the first stop should always be those who are tweeting about you. When a jewel of an @mention appears, retweet it. Besides sharing a customer’s positive story with your followers, you’ll also be empowering that tweeter. It’s a great feeling when a brand you admire acknowledges your tweet with a simple retweet.

Trapp Family Lodge, a 2,500-acre resort in Stowe, Vermont, spends most of its Twitter stream on retweeting satisfied guests and upcoming visitors. When a user posts a image from the estate or calls out a great experience, you’re sure to find it on the Trapp Family Lodge Twitter account. Such tweets also double as customer reviews for the company, which can drive your business even more.

5. Get Smart

Twitter is all about value — users want value out of the accounts they’re following. Value can come in the form of exclusive deals, contests and even expertise. While deals and contests may take a bit more legwork to get off the ground, expertise is something that any small business owner or rep should be able to share at the drop of a hat.

Face Place, a spa with locations in Los Angeles and New York, dedicates its Twitter stream to providing daily skin care tips. Most recently, the spa has tweeted about makeup-removal tips, how blood sugar levels affect complexion and which foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your skin.

Try spicing up your Twitter stream with tips and trivia related to your business. Your followers will appreciate the random facts you’re providing and tune in for the next tidbit.

Your Thoughts

How has your organization spruced up its Twitter stream? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Flickr, xotoko

More About: business, small business, trending, twitter

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Car of the Future Looks Like a Supersonic Road Rocket [GALLERY]

Posted: 24 Apr 2011 12:36 PM PDT

What will cars look like 10 years from now? Here’s one award-winning vision of the future from Serbian designer Marko Lukovic, showing a three-wheeled electric car that’s packed with futuristic technology.

Chosen as one of the winning projects among 1000 contestants worldwide, this concept car design was honored at the 10th Michelin Challenge Design 2011.

Lukovic calls his design “Supersonic,” and although the car won’t travel past the speed of sound, it looks like it could. Designed to resemble a supersonic aircraft, the car’s two back wheels each have an electric motor attached, driving the narrow, rocket-like vehicle that carries two people — a driver and one passenger — with one sitting in front of the other.

Designer Lukovic envisions a future where lithium-ion batteries are much smaller, compact enough to remove from the vehicle and take with you, charging them inside the home or office just as you do with your cellphones now. And check out that glass on the top and sides — it’s a photosensitive liquid crystal canopy with adjustable transparency for filtering bright sunlight or prying eyes.

One of our favorite features is the autonomous ability to drive itself that Lukovic calls “automatic pilot (driver) mode,” a capability we’re thinking will be commonplace 10 years from now. In that case, maybe the driver’s seat could swivel around to face the passenger seat, where the car’s two occupants could enjoy their morning coffee and quiet conversation while reading their tablets on the way to work.

So this is how we’re going to get around the year 2021? Let’s hope so. Check out the gallery below and let us know if you think this is an accurate vision of the future or a pipe dream.

Hop In!

The canopy opens from the front.

Instrument Panel

Controls are mounted on a thick stalk that projects into your lap. Maybe it'll be retractable when you place the car in autopilot mode.

Bristling with Electronics

Check out that photosensitive glass, already available today but not quite cost-effective enough for ordinary cars. Yet.

Tandem Seating

The car's narrow design is more aerodynamic, necessitating this single-file seating arrangement.

Badass Silhouette

It vaguely resembles those "streamlined" locomotives from the art deco era.

LED Lights

Stunning looks.


Could this be the electro-tryke of the future?

Graphics courtesy Marko Lukovic

More About: cars, Design Concepts, electric cars, Marko Lukovic, road rocket, supersonic, trending

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Nature in Time-Lapse: 10 Awe-Inspiring Videos

Posted: 24 Apr 2011 11:31 AM PDT

Time-lapse photography uncovers an unseen world, showing us scenes we’d never be able to perceive in real time. We’ve shown you great design-related time-lapse videos before, but this time we go back to nature.

These 10 terrific time-lapse creations from the wonderful world of nature will amaze and inspire you. From the lifecycle of a simple weed to the majestic splendour of the Northern Lights, we think you’ll find something awe-inspiring in our collection.

Take a walk on the wild side through our video gallery and let us know about any other nature-themed time-lapse projects that have impressed you in the comments below.

1. Oak Tree

Short but sweet, this video encompasses all four seasons with photographs taken of an oak tree as it changes during a year.

2. Baby Robin

A baby robin enters the world in this amazing nest-cam clip.

3. The Aurora Borealis

Norwegian photographer Terje Sorgjerd captures the aurora borealis in breath-taking time-lapse glory.

4. Dandelion

A simple weed makes a stunning subject for a time-lapse project as we see the flower filmed over a month period.

5. Mushroom

A magical-looking mushroom grows before our very eyes in this brilliant backyard video.

6. The Milky Way

A moonrise can be just as beautiful as a sunrise. Here you can see the Milky Way as it lights up the night sky.

7. Flowers

This compilation shows nature at its most lovely with a plethora of flora blossoming.

8. Mount Teide

Another amazing video from the talented Terje Sorgjerd, this beautiful montage of time-lapse sequences were shot on the top of Spain's highest mountain.

9. Cress

This fun video shows you don't have to have access to wonders of nature to create an engaging time-lapse video. We like the clocks in the background and the funky soundtrack.

10. Thunderstorm

A thunderstorm develops in this captivating time-lapse that offers an amazing vista of clouds.

BONUS: Startrails

These time-lapse clips shot by Dan Newton get the extra "startrail" post-production treatment for some magical viewing.

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

More About: gallery, List, Lists, nature, photography, time-lapse, trending, video, videos

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Online Activism Aims to Stop School Spankings

Posted: 24 Apr 2011 10:34 AM PDT

hero image

Can social media make a real difference for a cause? It’s a challenge taken on by Marc Ecko and his Unlimited Justice, a campaign to fight corporal punishment in U.S. schools. More than just an isolated campaign, it’s an example of how the Internet is changing modern activism.

Online activism has been both the whipping boy and unexpected hero of social good. The recent revolutions in the Middle East offer a strong case for the powers of social media to amass people into a sum greater than the individual. However, social good has also given birth to ugly terms like “slacktivism” — a portmanteau that picks on the perceived apathy and laziness of social media users.

It may take less physical effort to sign an online petition than stage a protest, but those online efforts are starting to mean more and more to officials. Ecko’s Unlimited Justice campaign helped pressure New Mexico into banning corporal punishment and made in-roads on the practice in Texas.

The Campaign

unlimited justice image

Unlimited Justice was focused on ending corporal punishment in U.S. schools. The practice of hitting students was permissible as a form of discipline in 20 states. More than 200,000 students received some form of physical punishment in 2006 according to the latest report by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.

The online campaign was made of two distinct parts: the UJ platform and a Foursquare campaign. The platform lived on the Unlimited Justice website. In many ways it was a social good “game,” whereby users gained points through five steps — learning the facts, signing a pledge to join the movement, recruiting friends to participate through social sites, petitioning government officials, and creating unique art and video. Each step earns the users points, which are calculated and displayed on a leader board.

The site pitches Unlimited Justice as a game where those points are proxies for real influence and impact in the realm of education reform. It’s a nice touch to have the points reflect user credibility rather than act as a way to get merchandise. So many other sites use game mechanics as a way to draw their fans back to a purchase button. With Unlimited Justice, that cache of points is a reflection of a user’s commitment to ending corporal punishment.

That interaction was key to the campaign, said Eric Kuhn, a social media specialist at United Talent Agency, who helped build the site. “Marc understood very quickly that having game mechanics on his website and going the Twitter and Foursquare route was better than the traditional hire-a-lobbyist route.” The site was able to have an impact by gathering a user base and collectively advocating change.

uj foursquare image

Geo-location has had a tricky relationship with social good, but Unlimited Justice made it a priority. They started a Foursquare campaign wherein users who checked in to a school could be notified if that school had a previous record of corporal punishment. For example, people who checked in to Prosper High School in Texas received: “In 2006, 270 students (half the student population) received a paddling. In all, 500 swats were delivered to students.” Checkins to Ennis High School in Texas, received: “At Ennis High school, misbehaving students may receive swats but only twice every nine weeks.” Ecko claimed that all the information had been verified, and came through the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights Data.

Marc Ecko

ecko imageMarc Ecko is a serial entrepreneur perhaps best known for his clothing brand, Ecko Unlimited, from which the social good campaign draws its name. Ecko is also somewhat of a serial philanthropist with a passion for education reform. Ecko runs a social think tank called Artists and Instigators as well as three in-house charities. Still, education reform has been a passion project for Ecko.

“You get two people in a room talking about education reform and you get 20 different opinions,” Ecko said. “One of the topics that really breaks down the line between right and wrong rather than “right” and “left” is the issue of corporal punishment in public school systems … It’s conceivable that with all the work I’ve done in the past decade, that if I could change a law, just get [corporal punishment] banned in one state, two states, then that will be more than all the work I’ve done with my team and my 501c3s.”

One of the main obstacles to tackling the cause was its low degree of visibility: “We knew we were up against something that was very inside baseball, so how do we make it feel like a food fight with a degree of activism? … We had to make the interface not like this goofy [corporate social responsibility] thing that’s overly face or overly vanilla … how do we make it so it’s exciting?”

Ecko set out to create not just a site to end corporal punishment, but a full-on platform that could be used and developed for any kind of activism campaign. The end result was a site (Unlimited Justice), that could be re-skinned or made into a widget so that Ecko or any other non-profit could load up their cause and use the tools Ecko and his team already developed.

That platform is setting into place a new form of activism that doesn’t rely on swathes of money and teams of specialized lobbyists. Ecko said he respected what lobbyists do, but called it the “slow boat” to activating public opinion.

Change occurs because people, connected through social media, start speaking up. “Ultimately, here’s the reality,” Ecko said. “When the state representatives start getting 50, 100, 200 messages from different people — of which maybe half of them are constituents who can vote — then their staffers have to do something about it. It sort of levels up the importance.”

While Ecko is proud of the campaign, there’s still a lot of tweaking that needs to be done. He’s unsure if the game mechanics on the site really helped the end cause besides making it novel. The campaign only spurred legislation in 2 of 20 states where corporal punishment is still allowed.

It raises a problem that plagues online activism: How do you know if your efforts created the change? It’s a stumbling block Ecko not only recognized, but embraced. “It’s not all us, but we are definitely one of the pieces in the puzzle that if we get critical mass, we could create momentum to drive even more impact and more policy change and more advocacy … So it’s our job to be out there and pound the drum. And it’s not that sexy, but you get credit by beating the drum. You can’t just talk about it, you have to be about it.”

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

More About: charity, corporal punishment, ecko unltd, marc ecko, non-profit, School Spankings, social good, social media, trending, unlimited justice

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The Onion Asks: Should Unemployed People Buy New Macs? [VIDEO]

Posted: 24 Apr 2011 09:28 AM PDT

In the wake of that Mac vs. PC infographic we showed you yesterday, there’s a lot of discussion going on here about the value and virtues of each platform against the other. To augment our discussion, we could use a panel of experts.

Here’s an idea: Let’s get comments from that astute panel at the Onion News Network. They’ll solve this conundrum for us.

Meanwhile, let’s get our discussion going: Should the nation’s unemployed be buying new Apple computers?

More About: comedy, humor, Mac vs. PC, the onion, Unemployed

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HOW TO: Find and Land Freelance Work

Posted: 24 Apr 2011 08:31 AM PDT

For many years before I started blogging and editing full-time, I made my living as a freelance writer. One of the biggest pain points for me during that part of my professional life was the tedium of finding and landing gigs. Though freelance work is plentiful in many areas, especially creative professions like design and writing, actually finding jobs, writing proposals and negotiating with clients often took up more time than the actual work.

Based on my own experience, plus that of three current freelance professionals, below are five tips for finding and landing freelance work. Are you a freelancer? How do you find gigs? Share your tips in the comments.

1. Network, Network, Network

Though freelance job boards — Freelance Switch Krop are Sologig and more — the number one way freelancers we talked to found work was via networking. “The secret is networking, never stop doing it. Get it right once, the stream just keeps flowing,” says freelance creative director Dann Petty. “Never stop networking, seriously, just don’t stop. Don’t talk about yourself at all and always ask questions about the other person,” he advises.

“I find my freelance work through a mixture of social networking, referrals and offline events,” says Natalia Sylvester, a freelance writer and owner of Inky Clean, who recently made the move from Florida to Texas. With the move, she relied heavily on social networking to find a new client-base. “Getting my new business name out there as quickly as I did, not just locally but online, wouldn’t have been possible without social networking through Twitter, Facebook and blogs.”

Bob Aycock, a CMO who does freelance marketing work, also uses social media as a key tool for networking and finding jobs. “A lot of my freelance work is from referrals. However, I’ve actually been able to get quite a bit from folks that I am connected to socially,” he says. “Utilize your social networks. You are probably connected to a lot of people, whether it be through Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. And these people are connected to other people.”

2. Be Precise

Of course, the most creative proposal in the world won’t land you a gig if it’s not what the client is looking for. That’s why it is important to be precise and include only the relevant information. “One thing that I’m continually surprised to find helps me stand out is the simple act of following instructions,” says Sylvester. “If a job posting asks for two writing samples in the body of an email and a certain keyword in the subject line, then I include that. It turns out, not a lot of people do.”

Sylvester also advises freelancers to take some time to research potential clients before going after a job. “I don’t apply to postings blindly, and I don’t reply to everyone who calls for a freelance writer, because I know that my ideal client has a specific profile,” she says. “If I do decide to contact them, I’ll refer them to work samples that are more significant to their niche, and I’ll try to somehow — even if just through an anecdote — make it clear that I’ve taken the time to learn about them.”

Petty takes being precise to another level and cuts out the minutiae that can weigh down a creative proposal. “If I’ve learned anything about proposals, it’s ‘the less you say the better you stand,’” he says. “Don’t waste your time on the details of a proposal — keep it quick and simple. I always write my proposals as if they were to myself; how I would like to read them.”

3. Sell Yourself

According to Petty, “To sell yourself as a freelancer, you need to sell your own personal brand, not just your work.”

In the social media age, where everyone’s voice has been amplified and personal branding has become paramount, that’s actually quite prescient. Aycock similarly utilizes social media to sell himself and make sure his potential clients know who he is. “Whenever I reply to a job posting, I make sure I include a link to my page. Most of the freelance work I do is for social media work, so I always want folks to be able to find me online and see what type of social networks I use on an everyday basis,” he says.

4. Get Creative

The freelance job market, like any area with available work, is extremely competitive. Standing out from the crowd is an imperative for landing work. According to Petty, that means getting creative and being willing to go the extra mile.

“It’s easy to be different and stand out when replying to a gig post, just don’t do what the other guys will do — be creative. I tend to write my emails a little different and with a lot of my own personality [so that] if I didn’t sign my name in the email, you’d [still] be able to tell it was me,” he says.

Petty also makes his proposals stand out by doing things his competition might not be willing to do. For example, for web design work, his proposals are entire web sites dedicated to helping him land the project. “My proposals not only stand out more than any others, but they show how determined I am by making something different than just a plain PDF,” he says.

5. Show Passion

Yet every point made in this post might ultimately be moot without exhibiting passion for your work. People who hire freelancers are looking for workers who are going to get the job done well and go above and beyond expectations. They want someone who shows a clear love for their craft and will positively create something jaw-dropping.

For Petty, showing passion is about taking risks. He even offers to fly out to meet clients at their location when starting on a new job. “It’s a tough job, but always remember: No risk, no reward,” he says. “Clients usually find freelancers because they want more creativity, so be prepared to deliver more.”

“Get out there and let people know what you are passionate about,” says Aycock. “If you aren’t letting people know what you enjoy learning about or working on, they’ll never think of you as someone to hire.”

Social Media Job Listings

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

More Job Search Resources from Mashable:

- Top 5 Tips for Creating Impressive Video Resumes
- Are Cover Letters Still Relevant For Social Media and Tech Jobs?
- HOW TO: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile’s New Skills Section
- Top 5 Online Communities for Starting Your Career
- HOW TO: Score a Job at a Creative Agency

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, danwilton

More About: freelance work, freelancers, job search series, trending

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