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Shaq Tweets At Halftime

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Shaq In a word:  Wow.  We’ve been talking a lot lately about just how big social networking is getting, how huge Facebook and Twitter have become over the last few months and how they are more than likely going to continue to do so.  In case you were still a non-believer (didn’t the simple fact that the QUEEN of ENGLAND has an account convince you?!) I think the events that transpired on Shaquille O’Neal’s Twitter account Saturday should have convinced you.

Just how big has the service gotten?  Try this on for size:  Leading up to his game on Saturday, Shaq was promising his Twitter followers that he would, in fact, Tweet DURING the game or during halftime.  Did he hold to his word?  Yes, Yes he did.  At halftime of his game against Washington, Shaq simply tweeted:  “Shhhhhhh.”

Here’s the even crazier thing, Shaq wasn’t the first one to Tweet during a big event, like a professional sporting event.  Last Sunday, Charlie Villanueva of Milwaukee actually got in trouble with his coach for sending out a Tweet during the game.  Did Shaq suffer the same consequences for his “Shhhhhhh?”  Nope.  Here is what his coach, Alvin Gentry, had to say:

“As long as he gets 25 [points] and 11 [rebounds], he can do whatever he wants. He can Twitter, Facebook, MySpace…”

That, coming from a coach that also has a Twitter account.  All this leads to the question:  What’s next?  Are we going to see Tweets coming in between rounds at boxing matches or MMA fights?  Are we going to to have the President sending out updates during Oval Office meetings?  Pitchers updating their Status while their team is batting during the World Series?

The short answer…Probably.

Twitter To Threaten U.S. Trials?

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Twitter As services like Facebook and Twitter continue to dive deeper and deeper into our lives, it looks like there are some people out there that view the services as more of a threat than anyone previously believed.  The fact that they allow anyone, anywhere to get intimate and in-depth looks into someone else’s life is no secret about Twitter, it’s the reality that actually made the service so immediately popular.  Now, however, there are some slight concerns being raised, especially in the world of the U.S. Legal System.

That’s right, looks like so me people out there are a bit afraid that Twitter and Facebook, most specifically their ability to instantly and easily update everyone as to exactly what’s going on with a certain person, might be jeopardizing trials and legal events.  According to recent reports:

“The verdicts in two US trials are being appealed against because jurors made comments about them on social networking sites.  Defence lawyers in the two cases say postings by jurors on sites like Twitter and Facebook could be grounds for appeal.”

As you know, jurors are forbidden to discuss anything relating to the case anywhere outside the deliberation room.  By allowing Twitter and Facebook, they are able to interact directly with thousands and millions of people with the simple push of a few cell phone buttons.  Yikes.  The question is, how do we enable our court systems to work in the new world?  Traditionally they’ve been plagued with an inability to work with the “Wired World” and as we move further and further into new technology, new media and social networking, these problems will no doubt continue to surface.

The question is, how do we address it?  How can we ensure fair and impartial trials without taking technology completely out of the equation?  What do you think?  Sound off…

Social Networks & Blogs Jump to 4th Most Popular Online Activity

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Remember the days when all you ever used your computer and internet connection for was to check your email?  Yeah, me too, and those days are officially over.  Move over email, make way for social networking and blogs because they’ve 100% entered the limelight.

New reports are showing that social networks and blogs are now the 4th most popular online activity, and that is ahead of email.  According to a new report by the Nielsen Company, titled “Global Faces and Networked Places:”

“Now visited by over two-thirds (67 percent) of the global* online population, “Member Communities,” which includes both social networks and blogs, has become the fourth most popular online category – ahead of personal email. It is growing twice as fast as any of the other four largest sectors (search, portals, PC software and email)…”

The report was actually filled with some interesting little tidbits, many of which were quite surprising.  You probably knew that Facebook is the world’s most popular social networking site, visited by 3 out of every 10 people across the 9 markets Nielsen studied, but as far as largest domestic use, it’s not the winner.  For the highest percentage of “domestic online reach” Orkut, out of Brazil, takes home the top prize with an impressive 70% reach.  Wow.

Check out some of the other findings:

–     ” One in every 11 minutes online globally is accounted for by social network and blogging sites.
–      The social network and blogging audience is becoming more diverse in terms of age: the biggest increase in visitors during 2008 to “Member Community” Web sites globally came from the 35-49 year old age group (+11.3 million).
–      Mobile is playing an increasingly important role in social networking. Nielsen found UK mobile Web users have the greatest propensity to visit a social network through their handset, with 23 percent (2 million people) doing so, compared to 19 percent in the US (10.6 million people). These numbers are a big increase over last year – up 249 percent in the UK and 156 percent in the US.”

Still have doubts that social networking and blogs have hit the big time?  Yeah, didn’t think so.  You’re probably not surprised though, as Jane mentioned Friday, bloggers just Know.

Why Do Celebrities Twitter?

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Twitter is huge.  You know it, I know it, heck even our grandparents probably know it.  With the recent news that even the Queen of England was Twittering, I think it’s fairly safe to say that the technology has officially come into its own.  The bottom line is, Twittering is huge and it’s getting even more huge as more and more celebrities are adopting the technology and Tweeting like crazy.  The question is, why?

In only 140 characters we are all being offered a much more intimate, much more in-depth and much more real look into the lives of these people that before only existed on screen or over the radio.  Now we know when they get massages, how they feel after losing a big game, what they think about politics, fast food, religion, and their love lives.

Why are celebrities doing this?  Simple, it’s fast, it’s easy, it’s social, it’s new media, and it lets their fans get closer than ever, without requiring a great deal of PR work, search engine optimization or even effort.  Anyone can send out a Tweet and if you’re MC Hammer, Shaq, Jimmy Fallon or Lance Armstrong each one of those tweets will be recieved by and followed by anywhere from a few thousand, to a few Hundred thousand people.  Instantly.

More insight?  The simple fact that Forbes is picking up on it and reporting on it should say quite a bit.  Head over and check out the article they did about why celebrities are turning away from old static websites and directly onto new social media and Twitter.  It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s intimate, what more can they ask for?

Do you Twitter?  Do you Follow celebrities on Twitter?  If so, who, and why?  We’d love to hear just who You find interesting, and whose Tweets you can’t live without.

Blogging Is The New Prozac

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Smile! Given the current status of the economy, the lingering winter in much of the country and soaring unemployment rates, the simple fact of the matter is, there are probably a great deal of unhappy people fluttering around this great Nation as of late.  What do we need to all get a little bit happier?  According to new reports, Blogging.

That’s right, blogging very well could be the new Prozac.  New research out of Taiwan is showing that when it comes to reports of general happiness, those that blog and keep up with some form of social media networking are just plain happier.  According to the research:

“[they] found support for deeper self-disclosure from bloggers resulting in a range of better social connections. These included things such as a sense of greater social integration, which is how connected we feel to society and our own community of friends and others; an increase in social bonding (our tightly knit, intimate relationships); and social bridging — increasing our connectedness with people who might be from outside of our typical social network…They also hypothesized and found support from their data that when these kinds of social connections increase or grow deeper through blogging, a person will also feel a greater subjective sense of well-being or happiness.”

Well I’ll be.  I always knew that blogging made ME feel better, and I’m sure a lot of you felt the same way, but now we have research on our side.  The bottom line is, in case you were ever wondering if blogging can make you feel more connected, can increase your social bonds, and can lead to a better mood, the simplest answer is…Yes.  Keep writing, keep blogging, keep connecting, your happiness will thank you.

Fast Company launches Social Journalism Network

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Ed Sussman president of Mansueto Digital (publisher of Fast Company Magazine) first publicly announced Fast Company was working on this super secret project during the opening keynote at last years BlogWorld & New Media Expo.  When Ed told my partner Dave Cynkin and I about the project Dave quickly chimed in that he had been a member of the “Company of Friends Network” years ago and how much he loved it.

This morning Ed announced the site has officially launched. What is it?

In Ed’s own words:

We are, however, an open forum.

Write an interesting blog post and you’ll find yourself featured on the homepage of FastCompany.com alongside Scoble, McGirt and Fishman.

Respond to one of our articles and you may find yourself in an exchange with the author. Or perhaps you’ll add the author to your contact list so you can keep talking about related issues.

Suggest an interesting Fast Talk question for the community to debate and you’ll find not only fellow readers mixing it up but our writers and editors as well.

Contribute a provocative video and tens of thousands of our million monthly visitors might take a look.

Join a group centered around a Fast Company core topic and engage other experts in your field.

Fast Company is about eight core topics: innovation, technology, leadership, management, design, social responsibility, careers, and work/life balance.

When you contribute content to the site, you can tag the content according to one of these topics and add your own free-form tags. We’ll automatically tag certain content, too (if, for instance, you’re responding to something, like an article about technology, that’s been previously tagged).

Sounds very cool!

I have been saying for a long time that new media and traditional media are merging. This is by far the most thorough integration of the two and hints at how powerful we can be together.

Chris Brogan loves the idea.

I’m all for it. I hope other magazines follow suit. How sick would a Wired network with all the right bells and whistles be? What other publications would make great social networks? WSJ anyone?

Social Media Explorer calls the new launch a home run:

I think the future of media outlets is bright if they follow Fast Company’s lead and build branded microcommunities for their readers instead of boring information sources.

Adam Kalsey is happy to see the site is build on the Drupal open source platform.

Erick Shconfeld gives a cautiously positive review at TechCrunch and sees a similar future as I do:

mainstream media and the blogosphere will become harder and harder to tell apart. It will just all become part of the bigger conversation.

It is worth reading the comments under Erick’s post as well which are very positive.

Stan Schroeder from Mashable doesn’t pan the launch but is has the least enthusiastic post I have seen so far:

Translated, this pretty much means it’s a lightweight version of LinkedIn, consisting mostly of a personal blog and professional recommendations.

Check out Ed Sussman’s reply in the comment section.

Shel Israel’s (now a Fast Company employee) take here:

As always stay tuned to Techmeme for more feedback from the tech blogosphere. What do you think about the launch?

Now I’m off to play with my Fast Company profile.

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