Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Twitter's Got a New Home Page!

Twitter's Got a New Home Page

If Twitter's looking a little different to you lately, that's because it is! The social networking site has a new home page and its goal is to keep you coming back. The new homepage was revealed on Tuesday and it adds a whole lot of stuff that wasn't there before. From a ticker featuring the latest trending topics to a list of supposed random featured users you should follow, you are sure to notice the changes.

There's a section called "Top Tweets," which features random updates from users. The tweets pop up every few seconds and are selected by algorithm. In an interview at Search Engine Land, Twitter's Abdur Chowdhury explains, "The algorithm looks at all kinds of interactions with tweets, including retweets, favorites, and more to identify the tweets with the highest velocity beyond expectations. This is intended to highlight tweets from all users and doesn't favor those with large follower counts."

As many point out, most people who already Twitter on a regular basis, most likely use a third party app and aren't signing into the homepage very often, so the new homepage is probably aimed at new and infrequent users who sign in often. A Nielsen survey from last year points out that about 60% of people who sign up for a Twitter account end up abandoning it within a month. Why this is, is up for debate, but the folks at Twitter hope the new homepage will help new users understand the website a little more.

Personally, I'm not sure if the changes homepage will have a lot of impact. Twitter does seem to be one of those things you either get or you don't. I don't think a day has gone by when I haven't tweeted lately, but when I encourage friends to sign up, for the most part, they tend to lose interest and return to Facebook.



Planning to speak at or attend a trade show or conference this year? Then call 800-736-8772 or visit RentOurProjectors.com for an affordable projector rental anywhere in the US or Canada.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

4 Safety Tips for Social Networking

4 Safety Tips for Social Networking

If you're spending a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook these days, don't worry, you're not alone. But as with anything else that's fun and attracts a lot of people, criminals are spending time there as well, looking to cause some kind of harm. Like any sort of cyber security issue, common sense is an important part of keeping yourself safe, but Fox News has pointed out a few specific things you can do to keep your social networking time secure. Here is a look at some of them.

1. Run up-to-date software. Make sure you're running a current browser like Firefox or Internet Explorer and make sure it's up to date. Use a security package if you're a PC user, and keep your operating system up-to-date with patches and updates.

2. Be aware of strange messages. If you get something that looks strange, exercise caution. For example, maybe you're on Twitter and someone who you talk to often sends you a direct message with something that seems out of character for them or doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Don't just click it, assuming your buddy sent it, ask them first. This way, you can avoid becoming part of a scam and your friend can take necessary action against whatever has compromised their account. And of course, when you get odd messages from strangers, you may want to ignore those all together.

3. Don't be so quick to click. Clicking on the wrong link can be a nightmare for computer users and these days with most of Twitter using URL shorteners like bit.ly and tinyurl, you really can't tell what you're about to click on. Generally, these links are harmless and used in the way they were meant to be, but if you click on one and you end up on a page that looks suspect, leave immediately. And if you ever land on a page that asks for your password to anything, even if it looks like it's the page it says it is, exit and pull the right page up yourself.

4. Watch what you share. The Foursquare app is popular lately. It allows you to share your whereabouts with your online friends. Personally, I don't really want some crazy Twitter follower catching up with me when I'm buying groceries, having lunch with a friend, or walking my dogs at the park, but that's just me. Broadcasting your location could attract danger. Whether a would-be criminal wants to find you or wants to know when you're not home so they can break into your house, announcing your exact time and location could be risky. Especially if you're gonna be away for a while.



Planning to speak at or attend a trade show or conference this year? Then call 800-736-8772 or visit RentOurProjectors.com for an affordable projector rental anywhere in the US or Canada.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Google's New "Starred Search"

Google's New Starred Search

Google is nothing if not innovative when it comes to personalizing search results and their latest idea is actually kind of a good one. The new feature is called "starred search," and it allows you to "star" a website in a Google search results page, kind of like a bookmark. When you are logged into your account, your starred sites are moved to the top of the results page. In addition, your starred sites synchronize with your bookmarks and Google Toolbar, making it easier for you organize your web browsing.

The feature is slowly made it's debut last week and should soon be available for everyone.

The feature is replacing Google's SearchWiki, which allowed users to reorganize the organic search results. Many tech experts say this is great news. If you're searching for the same site over and over, well, most people end up bookmarking it; starred search is more of a bookmarking tool than Google's SearchWiki ever was.

Last month, stars were already added to Google News. This allowed users to share articles they found interested, as well as keep the URLs for later viewing. Google Reader, Gmail, and Chrome will also be seeing stars soon!


Planning to speak at or attend a trade show or conference this year? Then call 800-736-8772 or visit RentOurProjectors.com for an affordable projector rental anywhere in the US or Canada.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Projector Rentals - Not just about location, location, location

Marketing projector rentals through their usesHaving just completed a few new pages for our customer, RentOurProjectors.com, it occurred to me that there is so much more to a well balanced website than just geo-specific marketing. That it's not all about location, location, location.

In this case the customer is making a serious attempt to define and document how their customers are using their products. The product is a nationwide LCD Projector Rental service and some new pages we have developed include: Projector Rentals For Business Presentations, Family Reunion AV Rentals And Uses, and a page page just completed yesterday for Training Class Projector Rentals. By writing content about how a client uses your products or service, and by including testimonial material from actual users, any customer can easily increase their "long tail". This increase would be equal to approximately the number uses that any customer can described in detail on their website.

Of course the perfect combination would be content based on use, with a few brand key words phrases such as "Sony Projector Rentals, along with geo-specific pages. So much like any successful website is not all about location, it's not going to be all about any one thing, that is if it wants to capture the most search results possible.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Facebook, Twitter, and Chelsea King

Facebook, Twitter, and Chelsea King

Chelsea King was out running in a San Diego park last week. She never came home. Last Wednesday, convicted sex offender John Albert Gardner III was arraigned on charges of murder of the teenager. The nation watched the story unfold on cable news stations and in San Diego, thousands of people gathered to search for and later mourn the life of the girl they didn't know. But it wasn't just the cable news stations that brought people together. Some experts say social media is changing everything about these types of incidents, from search and rescue to the grieving process.

Twitter and Facebook alone played a huge role in recruiting the over 6,000 volunteers who helped look for King. The family set up a Facebook page for the missing girl which now has over 70,000 members. Also, law enforcement agencies expect to use the social media to construct a timeline of the suspect's whereabouts.

Ken Dixon of MIR3, a company based in San Diego that develops communication networks for governments, universities, and large corporation says we can expect this to happen more often in the next few years. "“In the old days, you lined up people around the block. Each would write down their phone number and expertise and bearing to the case, and getting back to them was tedious and slow. Now you can aggregate and annotate responses, contact and deploy with lightning speed," he told the Christian Science Monitor.

He also said, "State-of-the-art systems today go 'social-networking’ one better because they have many more ways to collect and annotate responses in real-time.”

Elizabeth Dowdell, an associate professor of nursing at Villanova, who works with the FBI in forensics and Internet safety, says social media also helps everyone from the parents to strangers mourn and keep in touch with each other to do so together. She told the Christian Science Monitor, "The community support tapped into by these systems will help San Diego cope with their sense of loss, and piece together the many details of the case to create needed court testimony. Equally important are the living memorials that can be created to mitigate the need for parents who hold onto picture collages and keep the bedroom of their deceased children unchanged for year upon year.”

Facebook currently allows for family members of deceased people to turn their personal pages into memorials. This preserves their wall, allowing the person's friends to leave messages of remembrances and support.



Planning to speak at or attend a trade show or conference this year? Then call 800-736-8772 or visit RentOurProjectors.com for an affordable projector rental anywhere in the US or Canada.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

No Social Media for American Idol Contestants

No Social Media for American Idol Contestants

If you were following any of the American Idol contestants on Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace, you're probably not anymore. That's because the show forced all of the contestants to ditch their individual accounts in favor of one consolidated account created by the show, that features all of the 24 contestants. The show initially pushed the contestants' individual accounts. Earlier this week, all of the contestants' individual twitter accounts posted the message, "Thanks so much for following me! All my updates from now on will be on our Official Ai9 Twitter Page, please follow me there @AI9Contestants." Similar messages were posted on their Facebook and MySpace accounts.

No one knows for sure why the show's producers decided to make the change but several media outlets, including USA Today and the Wall Street Journal have a few speculations. Many believe that seeing how many fans or followers a particular contestant had would take away some of the mystery about who would be kicked off and who would stay on the show each week. They even argued that seeing their online popularity could affect how people vote.

Most members of the media who have reported the story say they agree with the show's decision. The mystery behind the show's voting results is one thing that keeps fans coming back week after week. However, if you ever jump on Twitter on a Tuesday or Wednesday night, you can already pretty much figure out which contestants are fan faves. Just take a look at the trending topics or the stream of peope you follow. No matter how many people you're following, at any given time, you'll probably see someone's positive or negative comments about a performance.

With that in mind, one man claims he's trying to "ruin" the mystery. Philip Kaplan of Blippy has created the website IdolNerd.com, where he explains how he will predict each week which contestant will be voted off based on the number of social media mentions.

So far, tweets from American Idol contestants have been relatively boring. They talk about how excited they are to be on the show and thank everyone for their support. Crystal Bowersox, who was hospitalized last week, causing the show the show to switch which days the girls would perform, assured everyone her diabetes was under control. And Lilly Scott, an alumni of the Colorado high school where a shooting took place last week, sent out an inspirational message about the tragedy.



Planning to speak at or attend a trade show or conference this year? Then call 800-736-8772 or visit RentOurProjectors.com for an affordable projector rental anywhere in the US or Canada.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

No Tweeting in the Courtroom

No Tweeting in the Courtroom

Anyone who has ever been on a jury knows that the judge issues a warning, informing jurors they must not discuss the case with anyone or do any research about it on their own time, but some say that warning is simply outdated. In an age where almost everyone owns either a computer or cell phone and uses those gadgets almost daily, some feel a judge should also remind jurors that this means discussing a case electronically, as well.

They may be a little late to come up with this idea, but the Judicial Conference of the United States, a federal court policy-making body, has released model jury instructions that state:

"You may not communicate with anyone about the case on your cellphone, through e-mail, Blackberry, iPhone, text messaging, or on Twitter, through any blog or website, through any internet chat room, or by way of any other social networking websites, including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and YouTube."

The memo was released in late January by Judge Julie Robinson, a United States District Judge in Kansas and the chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management. According to Robinson, the proposed new jury instructions, "address the increasing incidence of juror use, of such devices as cellular telephones or computers, to conduct research on the internet or communicate with others about cases."

Last year, a federal drug trial in Florida ended in mistrial when several jurors confessed to using the internet to do research related to the case. And when former Pennsylvania state senator Vincent Fumo was on trial for graft last year, his legal team called for a mistrial when it was discovered that a juror was posting updates related to the trial on Facebook and Twitter.

Each state is currently able to adopt its own set of jury instructions, so the recommendations are just that. However, some states, such as Florida, already mention electronic device and internet use during trials.



Planning to speak at or attend a trade show or conference this year? Then call 800-736-8772 or visit RentOurProjectors.com for an affordable projector rental anywhere in the US or Canada.