THE HEADLINES …
THE LOWDOWN …
ON FACEBOOK …
ON TWITTER …
IN OTHER NEWS …
BRANDS GET SOCIAL …
SOCIAL STATS …
VIRTUAL AND GAMES …
Tweeting on company time is costing the British economy a gulp-worthy £1.38 billion – and quite possibly a great deal more, once the human capacity for infinite self-delusion is factored in. When surveyed, workers allege that their co-workers are spending up to an hour a day on social networks – but insist that their own figure is a (far less sackable) 40 minutes per week. Hmm.
Domain names may soon be written in non-Latin alphabets – opening up the net for billions around the world who currently navigate it in a script they cannot actually read. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will make a decision this week.
There’s much to be said for the English way of doing things. Turn up late, make an arch comment, then somehow pull it off without appearing to even try. Tim Berners Lee, who astonishingly has managed to avoid social networking thus far, joined Twitter last week. After a laconic first post which read ‘confusing user interface’, he has managed to gather some 10,000 followers in four days.
GeoCities is going, going, gone. The service, which in 1995 introduced a generation to the internet, has finally closed down – causing a giant cloud of nostalgia for a time of dial-up connections and feng shui to waft across the web.
A Chinese MMO has got tough on players who see gender as a flexible concept. They’re banning male players who play as female characters – and insisting that all players prove their sex via webcam before signing up.
The ex-president of Sicily, who was forced to resign last year after being found guilty of aiding the Mafia, is demanding that Italian authorities investigate each and every one of the 4,609 negative comments which have been posted about him on a YouTube clip. The 1991 clip features Salvatore Cuffaro haranguing an anti-mafia magistrate, who was assassinated the following year.
Let no-one say that the ‘Book fears change. In the latest in a lengthening line of adjustments, Facebook launched their new-look home page this week. Predictably, users were dismayed (1.2 million have joined the succinctly-named Change Facebook Back to Normal group) but brands were delighted – ads are now much more prominent, helping them expand their reach across the network.
And in related news, Facebook is making changes to notifications and requests, making it harder for developers to reach new users without paid promotion. According to VentureBeat, Facebook may be trying to serve themselves a bigger slice of the enormous virtual goods pie that social game-makers like Zynga and Playfish have been cooking up.
They’ve also beefed up their sharing features, with a new button which shows how many time a piece of content has been ‘shared’ on Facebook. The move bolsters their growing position as a content hub for the web – 2 billion pieces of content are shared each week.
A figure which may well rocket northwards, if discussions with MySpace regarding a content-sharing alliance are successful. the mooted partnership would allow Facebook users to share MySpace music and video, via Facebook Connect.
The micro-blogging service has finally fixed its fatal flaw, according to Brian Solis. No longer will deleted tweets hang around in the search index, just waiting to be resuscitated at an inconvenient moment. Twitter-users with impulse-control issues will sleep easier tonight – now, if they remove a tweet manually, it’s gone for good.
News which will delight US football player Larry Johnson, who is possibly in a whole heap of trouble with his bosses following a Twitter face-off with a heckling fan which escalated into homophobic mud-slinging. When will we learn? Twitter + Work = Braaake!
Did someone mention impulse-control? Courtney Love, the famously outspoken rockstress, has failed in her attempt to squish a Twitter-based libel suit against her. The suit has been brought by a fashion designer, who alleges that Miss Love embarked upon “an obsessive and delusional crusade to terrorize and destroy” her.
Google’s Social Search has had a limited launch – quick, get a Google account, scoot over to Google Labs and you can try it for yourself. Google’s Bing-battering USP is that it will group results specifically from your network – uncovering deeper connections than might presently be apparent.
The Apple-loving world is aquiver, as evidence emerges that a touch-screen Mac tablet may soon be launched. Fortuitously-released research from Retrevo shows that many Apple fans would pay $800 plus for a putative tablet – confirming their reputation for being perfectly content to re-mortgage the house (and indeed the spouse) to get their hands on the latest Apple offering,
Meanwhile, the explosive growth of Apple Apps passes another milestone: they’ve reached 100,000 approved apps – having grown by over 35,00 in under three months.
Samsung have opened up their games-app fund to individual developers, companies, and brands – with an alluring $250K on offer to develop the winning concepts, which will then be delivered through the Samsung App Store.
The expansion of online TV continues apace, with the launch this week of both Sky’s Xbox subscription and Last.fm ‘s free sponsored TV service, which will focus on live acts.
Brands must master multichannel marketing, and become entirely consumer-focused if they want to beat the recession, admonished a stern Forrester Research this week. “Consumers are focused on their needs; not on your channels,” says their principal analyst.
Unilever wants to extend the crowd-sourcing scheme which they are currently running for Peperami, according to Brand Republic. The company wants to harness the power of the crowd across its hefty portfolio, which includes megabrands Lynx, Marmite and Persil.
Sportswear brand Russell Athletic has launched a funkily-retro viral which features an ‘80s-izer’. The site lets users upload photos to see themselves doing Jazzercise, break-dancing, or flexing their pecs on ‘Muscle Beach’.
Procter & Gamble has launched a Facebook campaign to promote Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal. The campaign asks users to tell them whom they’d like to visit and why, for a chance to take the trip for free.
The RSPCA has launched a Twitter-based augmented reality campaign which protests against the use of wild animals in circuses. Uses can print out a wearable mask which appears on camera as an elephant’s head, and a campaign site encourages users to retweet, and to spread the word through Facebook and other sites.
Samsung is promoting its touch-phone Blue Earth by asking consumers to create an ad which emphasises its environmentally-friendly properties, and encourages people to ‘Blue the Earth’.
Marks & Spencer is encouraging users to support urgent action at the UN Climate Change Summit by contributing an individual patch to a humongous virtual patchwork quilt.
Comscore’s latest research shows that ads on social networking sites account for more than 1 in 4 display ad impressions, with telecoms companies leading the way with 7 percent of the total. And online ads are more effective on social networks than on portals, according to new research by eBay Advertising.
Weber Shandwick surveyed 1,021 UK consumers and found that 26% say online reviews have more influence on their buying decisions than family or friends.
Cone Inc.’s new study finds that a stonking 78% of new-media users interact with brands – a healthy 37% at least once a week. Crucially, they want brands to communicate not only via websites and email, but through social networks (30%) and online games (24%).
VIRTUAL AND GAMES …
Virtual goods are big news, as ad-based games continue to languish in the doldrums.
Facebook game FarmVille has gone from nought to 56 million players – 21m of whom play daily – in the three short months since its launch. The Zynga game turned some $150m of sales this year.
That’s all folks!