Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Facebook Leads to Kidney Donation

Facebook Leads to Kidney DonationFacebook is one of the most popular websites in the world, and lots of people use it to keep up with local and national politicians. Whether you're looking for news about your state or news about a campaign, one thing you probably never expect is a body part, more specifically a kidney, but that's just what Carlos Sanchez of East Haven, Connecticut got from the town's mayor. And he got it through Facebook.

35 year old April Capone Almon, the mayor of East Haven, did not have to think twice about helping her 44 year old constituent with his medical problems. In an interview with AOL Noticias, Almon said she knew she'd be the right person to donate to Sanchez, who was preparing to go dialysis, due to his failing kidneys. Sanchez posted a desperate message to his Facebook page because he was unable to find a suitable donor. He wasn't totally comfortable with the idea, but his doctor told him the need was urgent.

Capone told AOL she considered Sanchez an acquaintance, but didn't really know him. She only knew of his need for a kidney through Facebook. She says she knew instantly that she wanted to donate and her family was concerned, yet supportive. Sanchez didn't believe her at first, but he finally gave her the number for the Yale Transplant Team.

Capone says she prefers to meet people in person but does use Facebook to help when she can. When she signed up for an account, she probably never realized she'd be helping in this capacity. She and Sanchez have become very close and she says she talks to him every day. Sanchez calls Capone his "little sister."

Both Capone and Sanchez had their surgeries in early April and both are expected to make a full recovery. Capone is already back at work and is eager to open other people's minds to live organ donation. Capone told AOL,

"There was one close friend who said 'If you were my daughter I would try to talk you out of this!' I replied 'But what if your daughter was the one that needed the kidney?' That really changed his perspective."

Read more about Capone and Sanchez's story here: Mayor donates kidney to save constituent, a Facebook friend.




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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Most Twitter Users are Outside the US

Most Twitter Users are Outside the US
It may seem like Twitter is all the rage in the United States, right? It is, but according to the company, Twitter has seen huge international growth lately. In a blog posted last week, Twitter's Matt Sanford, the lead engineer for the International Team, said that over 60% of Twitter accounts are from outside the United States and this has been the case since around September of last year.

In addition to English, Twitter is available in other languages, including French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. There are several reasons for the increase in international numbers. In November, Twitter.com was made available in Spanish for the first time, and Sanford writes that the social networking site immediately saw a boost in Spanish-speaking countries (about 50%). He also mentions that after the earthquake in Chile, people signed up to use the website as a communication tool. Most of the 1200% increase in new accounts were also from Spanish language users.

In several countries, when a politician begins using the tool to reach his or her constituents, you can bet that an increase in new users will come about as well. In Colombia, Piedad Cordoba Ruiz began using Twitter and sign ups increased 300%. In India, politician Shashi Tharoor and Bollywood stars Sharukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, and Abhishek Bachchan signed up for accounts and that's all it took for the country to see a 100% increase in the number of users.

In the post, Sanford says they've also been working to bring Twitter to countries like Indonesia and Haiti. He also reiterated what Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said at a recent CTIA conference, indicating Twitter wants to make itself available in as many countries and languages as possible. They're also working to bring more mobile phone users to Twitter, people who may not have computers. Stone said, "When a farmer in a rural village in a Third World nation can get the simplest of news over SMS, a weather report or whatever, it can have a dramatic impact."

According to PC World, Twitter better hurry up. Another microblogging service, Plurk, is gaining ground in many countries and is available in more languages, including Arabic, Russian, Turkish, Dutch, Chinese, Hindi, and Slovenian. It outranks Twitter is Taiwan, Indonesia, and Malaysia.


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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Fortune 500 Companies Fail at SEO

Fortune 500 Companies Fail at SEOIf you think Fortune 500 companies have the upper hand on SEO, you're wrong. Despite the fact that the big guns spend about $3.4 million a day - yes a day - on nearly 100,000 keywords, a report from Conductor Research reports that only one quarter of those keywords rank in the top 50 (natural) search results on the most popular search engines. And that's an increase from 2008 when the numbers showed just 17% of the companies' keywords showed up in the top 50.

The Fortune 500 Report analyzes national search results, optimization effectiveness, trends, and integration plans for those corporate an consumer brands for December 2009 fourth quarter.

"Since they spend all that money on paid-search keywords you would expect these companies would want the keywords in natural search to correlate with investments on the other side and make them as visible as possible," Nathan Safran, a senior research analyst at Conductor said.

More research showed that only 2% of the domains show a significant number of terms in the top 50. Only 15% of those companies have a "mid-to-strong presence" for their most advertised keywords, while 53% have absolutely no natural search visibility for those keywords. 68% of keywords can be found on a landing page. Safran says many companies just don't know what it takes to build their campaign.

Longer search queries caused a decrease in visibility. Searches with more than seven words saw a greater decrease than those with just one or two words.

The results show a huge difference in rankings of companies that did well and companies that have poor visibility; even the companies that have higher rankings, no company had most of their keywords ranked in the top 25 search results.

The report ranks companies with the best visibility as having a grade "A" or "B," while "C," "D," and "F" mean poor visibility. It also broke down the companies by market segment such as retail finance and insurance, manufacturing, transportation and warehouse, food services, construction, science and technical, and others.





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Thursday, April 01, 2010

YouTube's New Look

YouTube's New Look

Twitter's not the only website changing its look. By the end of Thursday, April 1st, everyone should see a new, improved YouTube that has been in beta since January. It's cleaner, it's simpler, and it's designed to keep people coming back. YouTube designer Julian Frumar says the website's pages were beginning to make site visits overwhelming and slow. The new design is meant to eliminate some of that.

So what has changed on video site? Lots of things! Those who post content can take advantage of new ways to brand themselves, including a logo above the video player. Also, when someone views a video, they'll be able to see what else the poster has to offer by clicking on thumbnails and links at the top of the page. YouTube believes this will prompt more people to subscribe to unique users' content.

Tracking a video's popularity is also easier now because it's easier to access. The view counter now shows analytics when expanded and a timeline that allows you to see how the video's popularity has evolved over time.

According to CNET, the website is hoping to turn the casual user into what it calls a "power user." These are people who, "bookmark videos, send the video to their social networks, record video replies, subscribe to video feeds, create playlists, and browse videos by location."

When rating a video, you can no longer assign a number of one to five stars. Now, you can give a video a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down," and a percentage rating will be calculated. According to Frumar, most people using the star system were only using the five or one stars (best or wost) to rate videos anyway.

As mentioned, the main goal is to keep people using and coming back to the site. People use YouTube for about fifteen minutes a day, but they watch TV for five plus hours. YouTube wants to add to that fifteen minutes.

What do you think? Does the new YouTube make you want to spend more time watching videos online?



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