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Want More Twitter Followers? Pay For Them!

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usocial We’re living in a world where the more people you’re connected to on the internet, the more successful you are most likely going to be when it comes to your business enterprises.  The problem for a lot of people, however, is that they just aren’t connected to that many people, and getting more of those connections can be a real pain.

Take Twitter, for example, the way it works is that you follow people’s Tweets that you are interested in, and in return, other people can follow you if they are also interested in you.  The more followers you have, the more people instantly hear exactly what you’re doing, exactly when you’re doing it.  For businesses, or someone who’s trying to market themselves or a product, the ability to reach a ton of people can be priceless…or is there a price?

Looks like there just might be, and we just caught wind of a new service called uSocial that actually offers up packages to help you boost your followers.  Yes, you heard me right, they have a service that helps you suck in and capture huge increases in Twitter followers so that more people are hearing from you, about you, and what you’re trying to market.  To this, I have just one word in response:  Wow.

I am not saying it’s not a great idea, because it really, really is, but I’m just saying Wow.  It seems amazing to me that we’re reaching points where we have to pay for followers.  What’s next, paying for Facebook friends?  The whole idea of a social network, to me, is that you’re socially building your network with people you know and interact with on some level.  Granted on Twitter we’re not always following people we know, and sometimes we even follow celebrities that interest us but still, paying for a package to include more followers just seems, well, odd.  The day we pay for Facebook friends, is the day I drop out of social networking altogether!

Army Lifts Social Media Ban

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army-logo Chalk this one up as a victory for the brave men and women around the country that are helping to keep our country completely safe and sound.  Up until this point, due to security concerns and privacy worries by ol’ Uncle Sam, the U.S. Army had blocked the vast majority of all social media and Web 2.0 sites on all of their bases.  That meant, for our soldiers, they had no access to Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace or Vimeo…the sites that, if we’re honest, steal a great deal of our time on a daily basis.

The good news is that now that the U.S. Army has re-evaluated their stance on it, they’ve decided to lift the social media ban at certain U.S. bases that have most likely passed through the checklists and red tape to make it happen.  According to reports:

“The order was made to “leverage social media sites as a medium to allow soldiers to ‘tell the Army story’ and to facilitate the dissemination of strategic, unclassified information,” the order states. Even before this order, a number of official U.S. Army social media pages were set up on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr, intended to promote soldiers’ stories to civilians…”

Great news for all the men and women that have been wanting to actually continue their online lives while serving our country.  Apparently this order is not going to work on all Army bases, as some have classified information that they can’t risk getting out, but eventually they have plans to allow this type of thing on all bases.  We’ll see when and if that happens, but the bigger news is just that social media has had this kind of impact, on this broad of a scale.  10 years ago, would anyone have believed the U.S. Army would have a Facebook page?  Nope.

The $99 iPhone: Apple To Get Even MORE Popular?

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iphone_narrowweb__300x3582 In case you were sleeping, living under a rock or were completely off-the-grid for the last few days, you most likely already know that Apple just made a splash.  Yes, another one.  At the recent WWDC they had a few pretty substantial announcements to make, but the biggest, in my humble opinion, was that their wildly popular iPhone, is about to get even more so.  Yes, Palm Pre, this is when you get terrified.

Yep, the iPhone, already one of the most popular cell phone devices ever made, is most likely going to get even more popular, and you’re going to be seeing them in a lot more people’s hands considering they can now be had for only $99.  You heard it right, Apple lowered the price by a huge margin and it’s now $100 below the Palm Pre, that is currently taking pre-orders now.  Keep in mind, the iPhone 3G, at only $99, will still have access to the entire iPhone App Store that is currently populated by over 50,000 apps.

What does this mean for the industry?  What does this mean for social networking and the future of the web?  A lot, in my opinion.  This is putting the mobile web in so many more hands, allowing access in so many more ways.  Not only can we access it in so many more ways, we’re able to access it in so many different places.  Anywhere you get a cell signal you can now browse the internet, which means news can be made and reported, Tweets sent, and social media uploaded from nearly anywhere on the globe.  The world is shrinking and it’s moves like this that are making it even smaller.

At $99, who won’t be buying one of these?  As far as I can tell, the only people that won’t be jumping on board, are the people whose networks don’t support it, like Verizon.  Rumor has it, however, that Apple is looking to change that too, and that Verizon might have their own iPhone within the year.  Wow.

Yes Drill Sergeant! Military Goes Social Media

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air-force Yesterday, my esteemed colleague talked about whether or not blogging has officially jumped the shark.  Today, we’re wondering what the term will be when it comes to Twitter and Facebook now that news is surfacing that in addition to the White House joining into the social media fray, now the U.S. Military is doing the very same thing as they’ve officially adopted not only a Facebook page, but a Twitter as well.  The most surprising, and strangely impressive thing is they are actually using Tweets to spread and deliver “hard news” to those that usually get their information online, rather than printed services.

That’s right, the U.S. Military effort in Afghanistan is actually using social media to help aid an entirely new communication effort.  When asked why the change of heart, as they famously created their very own video sharing site called TroopTube that was more secure than the conventional YouTube, the Military was actually pleasantly open about their motives.  They were quick to say that they are using both their Twitter and Facebook page to:

“engage non-traditional audiences directly with news, videos, pictures and other information from Operation Enduring Freedom…and to preempt extremist propaganda”.

Sounds good to us.  It’s just amazing to see how far the spread of both popularity and usefulness both of these services are seeing.  What started as an extremely brief way to alert those around you as to exactly what you were doing has turned into a full-blown way to not only communicate news, but also receive it as well…a fact the Military seems to be counting on, at least in a supplementary way.  Jumped the shark?  Nah, I think it’s just holding onto it’s fin and is using it to go a whole lot further, a whole lot faster.

Twitter Turning to Television: Reality TweeVee?

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failwhale I’m going to be straight up front and honest with this little gem of news:  I’m a bit terrified.  Rumors are surfacing that Twitter is in talks to develop a television series.  Yes, you heard me right, Twitter wants to be on TV.  In a word, wow.

If all goes according to their perceived plan, Twitter will be pairing up with Brillstein Entertainment and Reveille Entertainment to produce a new television show that, by the sounds of it, will combine their instant and real-time service with reality television.  According to reports:

“…the concept consists of “putting ordinary people on the trail of celebrities in a revolutionary competitive format.”

Again, Wow.  So we’re going to have yet another reality television show to keep track of, with yet another social networking method to keep track of it.  Before long we’ll see Survivor contestants tweeting, people on those Real World shows engaged in intense Twitter Battles and the Top Chef’s getting their challenges via Tweets.  Yikes.

What are your thoughts on this?  Is it a good thing that Twitter is going this mainstream, this involved and this “real.”  Will a television series based on this actually work?  I know it’s going to be completely dependent on what actually happens in the upcoming show, but for now it’s just a bit scary that it’s happening at all.  What’s next, “Facebook:  The Movie?”

Time will tell, and we’ll all be waiting to see what goes down.

Tweets From Space: Astronaut Twitters

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massimino-thumbnail If the White House jumping on the bandwagon and signing themselves up for a Twitter account wasn’t enough to convince you that the micro-blogging service had officially gone mainstream and its popularity has blown up, maybe today’s little gem of news will.  How about this:  a NASA astronaut part of their latest, ongoing mission not only used Twitter during his entire training program, he is going to be Tweeting from Space.  Yes, Space.

Astronaut Mike Massimino has been updating his Twitter page over the last few weeks and his most recent post was a precursor for the exciting events that are about to come as he and his fellow NASA astronauts attempt to fix and repair the Hubble Telescope.  His last pre-Space tweet read:  “I’m going to put my spacesuit on, next stop: Earth Orbit!!”  Everyone following his adventure is waiting anxiously to receive his first Tweet from Space.

It is amazing to see just how far technology has come, and how exciting it is to see where it goes next.  To think that only a decade ago, mobile phones were just starting to gain in popularity and Twitter and Social Networking in general had yet to even be developed.  Fast forward to today and we’re able to keep in contact with friends, customers, clients, and yes, even astronauts, all from our phones and computers.

Who would have thought that 140 characters could be so huge.  Next stop:  Tweets from the Moon.  “That’s One Small Tweet for a Man, One Giant Twitter for Mankind.”  Right?

Over 50 and Jobless? Join Social Networking Sites

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We’ve all heard the saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”  We all know what it means, we all know how true it usually is, but is it still relevant?  Is now the time, if ever there was a time, to start teaching all the old dogs out there, some very new, very important tricks?  Turns out, that answer is a very loud, Yes.

The current economic climate, despite the global warming that rages on around us, is chilly.  There are more people in every economic sector losing their jobs, worried about losing their jobs, or currently searching for replacement jobs.  The truth is, it’s scary.  I just found a question that someone submitted to the Wall Street Journal that addressed this, and questioned if new social networking technology is necessary for these “old dogs.”

The question posed was the following:

“How important is it for educated, laid-off professionals over the age of 50 to join networking sites? I am very Web and computer savvy, but do not really care to get involved with Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.”

Wall Street Journal impressed me by saying that the person in question would be “doing yourself a disservice not to have a profile on a networking site in the current job market, career experts say. It’s becoming increasingly common for recruiters to use these as their first point of contact with potential employees. Without one, you could be in danger of being overlooked.”

Being overlooked, in today’s technological landscape is the worst fate one can suffer.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, what your current job status is or what industry you’re in, every person should have at least some sort of social networking profile and presence.  Heck, even the Wall Street Journal agrees.

White House Dips Into Social Networking Pool

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white-house Looks like the White House is going 21st century, in a very big way.  We all knew during the campaign that Obama was a bit more advanced than any other presidential candidate in history when it came to his embracing and utilizing new technology.  That trend is continuing as the White House made a fairly large announcement recently.

That’s right, the White House has officially announced that they are big-time players in the social networking world, as they now have a blog up on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter…the big 3.  Pretty much the only question we’re all left wondering is this:  Will the President himself be tweeting?!

Here’s what the White House team had to say about their baptism into social networking:

“Technology has profoundly impacted how — and where — we all consume information and communicate with one another.”

True.  True.  It only took about 2 hours for the Twitter page to notch over 2,000 followers and at the time of this post, they’re over 38,000.  So far their updates have covered everything from swine flu to health care, to tax havens.  If you’re into the comings and goings of the U.S. Government, we suggest following.

The bottom line is, with the White House also maintaining “an active presence on Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube and iTunes…” they’re fully immersed in social media.  The question is, how will the White House respond when negativity starts popping up, after all, the internet is far from a “positive only” place.  How will the White House deal with any and all animosity on their pages?  Will freedom of speech be upheld or will the almighty censorship rear it’s ugly head?  Time will tell.

Twitter Becoming Huge Conduit For Information

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twitter-bird From Twitter’s humble start as a way for you and all of your friends to update each other on what’s going on, where you are, what you’re thinking and what you’re doing, it’s hard to believe where things have currently landed.  A year ago, would you have believed that some of the most popular celebrities in America would be not only using Twitter, but championing it and spreading a huge amount of their news on the service?

Would you have believed, only a year ago, that some of the most major and popular news stories were literally broken on Twitter?  No.  Probably not.  The bottom line is, over the last year, Twitter has shifted from a small, personal place to update your own social networking statuses, to a full blown hotspot and conduit for information.  Twitter has rapidly become THE place to go for any and all things information…from breaking news, to the actual pulse of this world, it’s hard to argue against it.  Everyone from Shaq to Oprah to the FBI to President Twitters, so when you want or need information that’s absolutely up to the minute, why would you go anywhere else?

According to an article we just found, Twitter:

“…isn’t just about celebrities or the silly anymore. It’s about real information, in real time…Sometimes that can be tweeters telling people about a shooting in their town, or about who was arrested overnight and is now in the county jail. Or letting residents know about severe weather headed their way.“Twitter is a scanner. It’s a scanner of life, scanner of the country,” said Jen Reeves, an expert in new media and a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.”

We couldn’t agree more.  Fast forward 10 years from today and the need for major newspapers or even yes, the News, might be completely gone.  Why listen to a reporter’s second-hand report of a situation when you could hear directly from the people that were there and actually witnessed what happened?  The time is coming…the time is now.

During Recession, Marketers Turning To Social Networks

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In today’s economy, I’m fairly sure just about everyone has been feeling the pinch.  When it comes to bigger companies, one of the divisions that I’m sure has been struggling, is the marketing division.  How do you advertise your product to people who are struggling with their own financial issues, without spending more money than you can afford?  That is the question plaguing a great deal of companies today and they are finding answers in unlikely places.

Those “unlikely places” are getting far more likely in today’s day and age.  According to new reports, marketers are increasingly turning to social networks to reach their potential clients without blowing huge sums of money they just don’t have.  According to a new study by WhitePaperSource, when over 900 of the leading marketers were asked about their marketing habits:

“…more than 88 per cent of the business establishments are using social media sites, such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, to reach out to their clients and further enhance their exposure beyond the conventional reach using other traditional means.”

What’s more, this is actually a pretty new thing.  Of those that responded, almost 2/3 of them have only been turning to social networks in the last few months.  While there are definite positives and negatives to employing this time of marketing plan, it’s clear that it’s a style of marketing that is getting huge and needs to be addressed.  On the plus side, it is Free.  On the negative side, it is, as noted, fairly time consuming to update and more importantly, monitor community and social reaction to your brand.

The study showed that those that have taken the plunge are actually seeing surprisingly great business returns.  Traffic has been up, exposure has been spread and business increased.  Again, a great idea if you can afford the time to deal with the brand you are spreading.  So, all of you in the marketing world, sound off…has social networking helped your business or brand?  Are you turning to social networks?

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