Facebook for Businesses – Best Promotion Tactics

The following is a post by Patrick Mackaronis.

Regardless of the size of a new business or company, many industry leaders are turning towards social media websites like Facebook to reach out to larger population of potential customers. However, not all companies are aware of the best business practices to use when using Facebook in this manner. Here are a few tips to consider when setting up a Facebook for businesses.

Facebook for Businesses: The Difference Between Profiles and Fan Pages

When first creating an account on Facebook, new users will be asked if he or she wishes to create a profile or fan page. What is the difference, and which should be used for a company or business? Simply put, this depends on the approach a company wishes to take in order to reach out to new customers.

For example, Facebook profiles are meant to be more personal in nature. Sharing personal photos, links, or personal status updates are commonplace with profiles since these accounts are usually managed by one person. Businesses can use profiles to reach out to a target customer population by creating a profile for a company mascot, for example. However, individual company employees should steer clear of creating profiles as Facebook requires the user to include personal information for profile accounts. In addition, other Facebook users become “friends” of profiles and have the ability to comment on the company’s profile page. In many ways, this can be dangerous for the business, especially in the event of negative (and sometimes vulgar) comments from other users.

As an alternative, companies may wish to create a fan page on Facebook. In this instance, personal information is not needed in order to create a fan page and multiple account users can manage one page at a time. Company logos, events, and photos can be used on fan pages as well, however the account manager can limit the interactivity of other Facebook users on the company page. Furthermore, other Facebook users become “fans” of a fan page and are substantially limited to how he or she can interact with or alter content on a company’s fan page.

Update Content Regularly on Facebook

Perhaps the biggest downfall that companies using Facebook notice in advertisement success rate is lack of consistent and updated information. When using Facebook for businesses to reach out to new customers, companies should designate a department, team, or employee as being responsible for updating their profile or fan page regularly. For best results, companies should update Facebook at least once a week. These updates need not be major and can simply be sharing a new photo, internet link, or status update.

The two tips mentioned above can serve as a great start for any company thinking about using Facebook for their advertising methods. As social media continues to grow in number of users and popularity, companies would be well-advised to try their hands at other networking sites as well.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Facebook Enjoyment: Five Things People Like Most

The following is a post by Patrick Mackaronis.

A short while ago, adults on Facebook were not as common as they are today. Many parents of pre-teens signed up for a Facebook account to keep an eye on what their kids were doing.

Ask any adult what they do on Facebook. Checking up on their kids will be last on the list in most cases. Ask any teenager on Facebook if one or both of their parents have a Facebook account. You’ll be able to tell the answer by the look on their face.

Facebook allows people to communicate with one another in real time, and it allows everyone to let the Facebook world, or just their friends, know how they feel about any given subject. You can upload and share photos with others, and it has one other nifty feature; games you can play alone or with other Facebook users.

Here are five things that cause the most Facebook enjoyment for users:

Facebook Enjoyment: Five Things People Like Most

  • Playing Farmville

When most people accepted their Facebook friend’s invitation to be their neighbor on Farmville, they intended it to be a kind gesture. That gesture turned out for most to be fun and entertaining. For some, it turned into an obsession that no one would admit to having.

  • Cafe World, Mafia Wars, Slots, Poker, and other games

For the same reasons, depending on your likes and interests, these games are what most adults are doing on Facebook lately. Whether you prefer cooking, getting the bad guys, or winning tons of play money, there is a game on Facebook to suit everyone. Most of these, however, have not reached the heights of the Farmville Fever.

  • Reconnecting with old friends and classmates

Sadly, as much as we would all like to, we lose touch with good friends from our childhood. People move away, get married, and start families. The chances are good that you can find anyone you ever knew, on Facebook. You get to reminisce about the old days, catch up on what ever happened to this one or that one, and behave as though you never left the neighborhood where you grew up.

  • Keep up with family news as it happens

Entire families are on Facebook now, including in-laws, cousins, and immediate family members. If a school age student wants to share the A they just got on a test, or tell the Facebook world about the home run they scored in a little league game, everyone finds out about it immediately, all at once. The whole family also hears about promotions, raises, and unfortunately, with the sign of the times, the loss of a job. Facebook enjoyment via Facebook friends and family are there to cheer or console.

  • Preventing worlds from colliding

If anyone remembers when the character, George on Seinfeld, worried about his fiancé hanging around with his best friends, saying that “worlds would collide”, can understand this one.

We are different people to our closest family members, than we are with our friends, coworkers, or old friends. Religion, politics, childrearing ideas, and even our views on issues such as global warming or the Arizona Immigration Bill, can cause problems if we share them publicly with a large group of people that we know personally. Discussing these subjects on other social networking sites, forums, or message boards, is different, because if we disagree with people we do not know, it is not a big deal.

Arguing about social or culturally issues with family out there for all the world of Facebook friends to see, can ignite an old argument, and cause a family feud.

Whatever you enjoy doing on Facebook, we have to admit that Mark Zuckerberg really started something amazing. It is something most of us hope will never go away.

Patrick Mackaronis, the CEO and Founder of Brabble, can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Farmville Progression: Quickly Advancing Experience

The following is a post by Patrick Mackaronis.

Many people play Farmville regularly; in fact it is highly addictive. The main aim is to move up through the levels so that more items can be bought for the player’s farm, and this must be done by gaining Experience Points (XP). Here are some hints on how to gain XP quickly and achieve higher levels.

Farmville Progression: Work Out Which Plants to Plow and Seed

XP are mainly gained for plowing and planting seeds. Different seeds have different XP, and grow at different rates. If the player has plenty of time, the best plants to grow are strawberries, and they can be harvested every four hours, with XP gained every time plowing and seeding is done. Raspberries only take two hours to grow, but beware – they do not give any XP!

Those players who have money to spare can gain XP fast by purchasing seeds, then deleting the seeded fields, re-plowing and seeding all over again. This will cost a lot of ‘coins’. It will also enable the player to gain a great deal of experience points quickly and move on up through the levels. The best plants to grow for this purpose are soybeans. They only cost 15 coins each, but offer 2 XP.

Farmville Progression: Buy Large Items Such as Farm Buildings

All items bought on Farmville qualify for extra XP. If the player has extra money, it’s worth working out the best items to buy. This is often farm buildings – even if they are sold back later on.

Farmville Progression: Win as Many Farmville Ribbons as Possible

Farmville offers ribbons when different tasks are completed, and winning these ribbons means the player gains more coins and XP. So it is worth clicking on animals and trees when they are highlighted. They may not give a huge number of coins, but hey do enable the player to gain more ribbons and therefore more experience points.

Farmville Progression: Visit Neighbors and Help on Their Farms

Farmville offers coins and XP if they player helps on a neighbor’s farm…but only once a day. However, this means it is worth inviting friends to play, and having as many neighbors as possible. At the time of writing, however, there was a minor ‘bug’ in the system which is quite useful. This means that it is possible to click on a neighbor’s icon, then click on it quickly again before their farm downloads. If the player is quick they can do this several times. They can then help out several times on that farm, winning a large number of XP. If the player has several friends, and does this consistently, a large number of experience points can be gained in this way. However, who knows how long this will be possible!

Playing Farmville and moving up through its levels in this way can be very exciting, and also relaxing after a hard day. However, be warmed – the game is very addictive!

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Twitter with Customers: Make Each Tweet Count

The following is a post by Patrick Mackaronis.

Twitter has taken over the social networking arena. Tweet or die has become the new sales and promotional mantra.

One of the big questions in marketing and public relations is how to use Twitter to its fullest while garnering the biggest benefits. One technique is to keep Twitter tweets value added, to the point, and forget about letting followers know every last detail of the day. Make tweets count.

Twitter’s Value Added Tweets

Make it worth the follower’s time to read the posts. The following items can help add value to Twitter communications:

  • Provide bits of research
  • Ask a compelling question that others can post answers for.
  • When others post questions, try to find the answers and become the go to Twitter person.
  • Always focus on posts that can benefit the readers.

Tweet Meaningful Events

When communicating for public relations or marketing purposes, followers do not want to know every detail of the messenger’s day. They don’t care about what they had for lunch (unless it was a great money saving special) or that their office just got painted.

Tweet about attending conferences, learning new skills, finding a great new book, or meeting a new customer that may be of interest to followers.

Avoid asking followers “What are you doing?” Instead tweet about just reading a helpful and informative article online.

Make Tweets Count

When Twitter first entered the social media arena, followers loved all of the small details of everyone’s life. As Twitter matures, people are becoming less and less enthralled about such time wasting details.

Mixing the new media with the traditional media has created an overload for many business professionals. It is tough to keep up with all of the social media options and continue to follow print, radio, and television. While Twitter continues to be all the rage, it is also beginning to become one of the most valuable ways to connect with customers.

As such, users need to make each and every tweet count. With the message at only 140 characters, the writing has to be tight and to the point. Tweets have to also be relevant, viable, and meaningful to followers.

For example, for those in the health care field, tweeting news about the progression of the proposed health care bill would be relevant and meaningful if followers are also in the health care field. For those in working to make the world a greener place, tweeting about new green initiatives, products, articles, books, or how a company is contributing to improving the environment would be viable.

Tweaking Tweets

Keep tweets short and simple. Think about a tweet before sending. Will followers appreciate the information or will be challenged by a question or if and how they will benefit from the tweet? If so, tweet it to the world.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Make Money on Twitter: 3 Sites that Offer Payment for Tweets

The following is a post by Patrick Mackaronis.

Twitter users can earn money by posting sponsored tweets. There are three popular sites that currently offer tweeters payment for posting ad campaigns. Here are options to make money on Twitter.

Make Money On Twitter With Magpie

Magpie is an ad network that pays tweeters to post campaigns (also called “magpie tweets”) among their tweets. Magpie-tweets are carefully matched to the topic that a Twitterer posts on his Twitter account (e.g. cooking, gardening, business). The frequency of posting depends on the ratio selected by the tweeter. By default, a magpie-tweet is posted every ten tweets. A magpie account holder, however, may opt to change this ratio. The minimum ratio is one magpie-tweet every 5 tweets.

To earn from Magpie, one must have a Twitter account and a PayPal account. Earnings are based on three compensation models: Pay-per-Sale, Pay-per-Lead, Pay-per-Click, and Pay-per-View. The minimum payout at Magpie is $50.

Magpie is currently the leading advertising network for Twitter with over 10 million Twitterers signed up at their program.

Make Money On Twitter With Sponsored Tweets

Sponsored Tweets is an advertising platform that connects advertisers with tweeters. Advertisers create sponsored conversations on Twitter and make offers to qualified tweeters. Tweeters earn money by writing tweets about the campaign and posting the required link.

To earn from Sponsored Tweets, one’s Twitter account must be at least 60 days old, have at least 50 followers, and contain at least 100 status updates.

Sponsored Tweets pays via PayPal and the minimum payout is $50. Sponsored Tweets is managed by Izea — the same company that manages Social Spark, Loud Launch, and Pay Per Post.

Make Money On Twitter With Twivert

Anyone who has a Twitter account and a PayPal account can sign up for Twivert.

At Twivert, an advertiser starts a campaign by creating a new tweet message and selecting a time slot between when the ad has to be posted. The advertiser also allocates an amount for the campaign and has the option to limit the number of impressions per day.

Twitterers have the option to limit the number of sponsored tweets per day and to select time slots when these campaigns should appear on their Twitter account. This is done via the auto-tweets feature where CPC ads are automatically posted on behalf of the Twitterer. Another option would be to pre-approve ads before they are tweeted.

Twitterers earn every time there is a genuine click on the ad. Once the earnings reach $30, a payout can be requested and received via PayPal.

All three advertising networks – Magpie, Sponsored Tweets, and Twivert – offer an affiliate program. Twitterers can send out unique referral links and earn more when their referrals get paid.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Google+ And Facebook: What’s The Difference?

The following is a post by Patrick Mackaronis.

What are some Facebook and Google comparisons?

Like or not, Facebook and Google are both household names. Even if you don’t use one or the other or neither, they are a large part of our everyday world that you have to, at least, admit exist. Google has made several attempts to clone Facebook and failed miserably. They have now come up with a re-tooled Google-designed version of Facebook. Kinda. Sorta. Yes, it’s true that Google+ most certainly is a social networking site, but don’t dismiss it as just a Facebook clone. This time, there’s more.

Google+ works in combination with a number of Google’s other services and are in effect all joined with your own Google account. Let’s say you are on Google’s home page, up on the top right of the Google bar, you will see your Google+ profile info and link to your account, the notification indicator and a Share button. This way you can stay connected even if you aren’t on the Google+ site.

What are the new Google+ features?

There are a few features that are totally new and different from Facebook. Circles, Sparks and Hangouts are only some of the ways you can enjoy a social networking platform with some customization.

Some of the other features that are unlike Facebook are how you connect with friends. You invite friends and they accept. But, you can use the Circles feature, which permits you to customize and sort your friend’s list. This customization is a great feature in that you can share with friends something you wouldn’t want your mother or boss to see. Or, vice versa. If you want to say something sappy sweet to mom and grandma, your college fraternity brothers will never know.

Sparks is designed as an online sharing engine. You add interests and an assortment of related content to your profile, which can include videos, and they will be delivered to you. This feature makes this content easy to share with your circle of friends. And, by the way, the feed is available in over 40 languages.

A feature called Hangouts is not what you expect. You’re probably thinking Hangout will allow you to schedule a meeting, get together locations or geolocate your friends or circles for hanging out. Not with Google+. Instead it’s a live multi-person video chat so you can virtually hangout. You simply set yourself to available. Friends in your circle can then join the video chat and hangout. Google+ has yet to set a limit to your hangouts, so yes, you can have multiple friends, although at this point there is no clear limit as to how many.

How can I get Google+?

Google+ was launched on June 28, 2011. Only certain individuals were chosen to test and those individuals have invited others – which is how I got a preview. The software is still in the beta stage and Google is working on any bugs the test group find.

Word is, Google is planning on introducing the platform on or before July 31. Customization features, video chat capability with no add-on and being able to surf the internet while still being “connected” are only some major plus signs for Google+.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Twitter Utilization As A Listening Tool

The following is a post about utilizing Twitter as a listening tool by Brabble CEO and Founder Patrick Mackaronis.

The simplicity of communicating with a mere 140 characters has lead more than 18 million users to utilize Twitter each month, according to Nielsen, spending more than 15 minutes per visit with the application.

Twitter is used for a variety of purposes, everything from keeping up with friends and family and meeting new people, to cross-company communications and productivity, as well as a way to promote brands and blogs. The ease of all of this push marketing to legions of followers is quite a draw for any Marketer 2.0, thus many marketers overlook the most important asset to having Twitter in their marketing arsenal: listening.

Twitter is an invaluable listening tool. No where else, and through no other media, can marketers directly connect with the thoughts, likes and dislikes, personality and moods of customers, prospects, influencers and competitors. By listening through social media, marketers become proactive and educated in all areas of how they market a brand, develop products and provide customer service.

Listening with Twitter: Customers and Prospects

Twitter is a perpetual, insider’s view into how the most important audience interprets and connects with a brand. Using the microblogging application for listening, marketers can track news and trends that are happening online and offline. Marketers are kept abreast, in real time, of product reviews, brand attitudes and interpretations, customer service experiences, and desires for new, improved or expanded product or service offerings.

There are dozens of applications available to aid marketers in managing discussions about their brands. Listening on Twitter through applications like TweetTronics provides a way to discover, track and engage with conversations that are happening about products and brands. The application tracks about 4.5 million users. Other applications like TwitterAnalyzer provide analytics tools about follower activity on Twitter similar to analytics programs used to track visits on websites.

Twitter Listening: Competitors

If a company or brand is using social media, so is their competition, or they will be very shortly. Companies can take the advantage over the competition by honing their listening skills on Twitter. In addition to listening to customers’ attitudes about the brand, marketers can listen to conversations customers are having about the competition.

Listening on the tweeting social network also offers competitive intelligence directly from the horse’s mouth. By following the competition’s messages, companies can about learn everything from new product innovations, new hires and financial news, to what sales or promotions the competition will offer this weekend.

Listening with Twitter: Influencers

Marketers are charged with shaping a company’s brand and promoting it to various audiences. One avenue to promote a brand is through the media, and with this social network, this process can become much more fluid. Gone are the days of mass news dumping and blind pitching.

Marketers can begin their media relation’s activities by listening through Twitter and other social to gain perspective about what individual journalists and bloggers are interested in, how they like to be communicated with or pitched, and whether news about a brand would be a good fit.

Through Twitter, with a focus on listening, brand marketers will find that traditional journalists as well as members of the blogosphere and other “citizen journalists” are now highly accessible and that genuine relationships can be formed with them if and only if marketers employ constant listening. To begin the process of listening to the media, marketers can access a comprehensive directory of journalists like MediaOnTwitter.

Listening to customers, prospects, competitors and influencers is as important as ever to marketers, but utilizing Twitter for listening removes much of the guesswork and tediousness from the process. With the power of the application’s simple communication style, marketers now have the means to access and assess brand awareness and reactions from all relevant marketing audiences.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Facebook Advertising for Internet Marketing Campaigns

The following is a post on utilizing Facebook advertising for internet marketing campaigns by Patrick Mackaronis.

When it comes to talks about advertising online, Facebook is growing in popularity. With the 400 million active users typically on the social networking website for almost an hour per day, it’s no wonder why so many online advertisers are beginning to use it as part of their internet marketing campaigns.

The Process of Creating Facebook Advertisements

Among the most appealing features of Facebook advertising is its ad-creation platform. Using the interface, online advertisers can create Facebook ads as easily as they would submit any other type of content (links, wall posts, status updates, or images) on this social networking website. They also have the option to link to an external website or a page they have created on Facebook.

Because of this simple platform, all there is to designing a Facebook advertisement is a link, a title with a maximum of 25 characters, an advertising copy composed of 135 characters, and an image. There’s no need to worry about design concepts or layouts. There’s also no need for skills on Photoshop or similar image editing software.

Once the advertisement has been designed, Facebook advertisers just need to specify their target audience. Facebook allows them to do so through both demographics and psychographics. Then, advertisers specify a daily budget, an ad schedule, and a maximum bid (per click or per 1,000 impressions). After that, advertisers need only to review entries and submit.

The Facebook Advertising Team’s Review Process

Upon submission of the ad creation form, it is added to the queue of advertisements that the Facebook team needs to review. Basically, they approve and reject ads depending on whether or not they meet the social networking website’s content guidelines. If an ad is approved, it is run according to the specified schedule. If it is rejected, the advertisers have the option to revise their entries and try submitting again.

It is worth noting that Facebook is incredibly hard to deal with for advertising inquiries, and have a tendency to ban accounts without warning. Online marketers advertising offers that fall outside the terms of service are destined for a headache by using Facebook’s advertising platform. Nevertheless, there are practices that make it easier to get approval for Facebook advertisements.

Although there are downsides to Facebook advertising, they are almost negligible to online marketers running legitimate campaigns and promoting ethical online businesses. What’s important to consider is that this social networking website offers a legitimate platform for reaching a massive number of users around the world in a simple yet effective manner.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Virtual Communities: From Geocities To MySpace

The following is a post on the history of virtual communities by Patrick Mackaronis.

Long ago and far away, there was a quaint little cyber village called Geocities. Geocities was, for several years, one of the most popular virtual communities on the Internet.

Known for its topic-specific neighborhoods, Geocities offered web users a creative and interactive way to find like-minded cyber buddies through chat rooms and yes, good old-fashioned web pages. There was Area 51 for science fiction and fantasy buffs. Heartland for those looking for hometown values and HotSprings for the more health-conscious surfers. (psst… any ex-Capitol-Hillers out there? Its me… Kate(jpo)!) With 41 neighborhoods in all, Geocities was THE place to be, whether you knew anything about creating a web site or not.

Virtual Communities: GeoCities

Today, Geocities is long gone, although its spirit of “community on the web” continues to stay strong. With forums, instant messaging and a whole host of chat rooms, building community has become one of the web’s biggest accomplishments. Geocities would be so proud. But perhaps the most impressive community builders of all is MySpace, the “Geocities” for the next generation.

MySpace.com is a sort of web page/forum hybrid, also one of the most popular virtual communities, complete with graphics, templates, blogging capabilities and email system. Doesn’t sound like a big deal? Don’t be so sure. Just as I never missed a night of chatting on Capitol Hill, MySpace users are taking full advantage of this new instant communication tool.

Founded in July 2003 by Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe, MySpace was originally created to give aspiring musicians a place to promote their music and connect with potential fans. A musician himself, Anderson had Hollywood contacts and as word spread, MySpace quickly became a profitable venture, projecting a $200 million in revenues.

Virtual Communities: MySpace

So, just what do you do with a MySpace account?

Plenty! Upon registration, each user is given a “Profile” that they can edit, manipulate and customize to suit their needs. The Profile is the equivalent of a one-page website within the MySpace domain and consists of two basic sections: About Me and People I’d Like To Meet. In addition to these two sections however, users can add extra sections such as personal info, music and movie players, books, etc. As 17-year-old Michael Edwards stated in an interview with USA Today, “your page is like your personality.”

But the possibilities of MySpace doesn’t stop at self-promotion. Remember, MySpace was designed to be a social networking website so user interaction is key to its success. In addition to personal customization, users can also post messages and graphics to other users sites by joining their “Friends” list. MySpace also has an internal email system allowing you to contact other MySpace users without the need for a personal email address. Create your own blog (private or public), send announcements to your friends or add pictures, graphics and random thoughts when the mood strikes you.

Think this is just another fad for socially curious teens? Think again. According to a count, MySpace boasted almost 50 million members, including such notables as Hillary Duff, Peyton and Eli Manning, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Halle Berry.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Online Book Marketing and Twitter

The following is a post by Patrick Mackaronis on online book marketing and publishing on Twitter.

With book publishing companies increasingly putting their authors in charge of their own promotional marketing tasks, Twitter is emerging as a viable place to market print books. Authors can use their Twitter accounts to tweet about when their books will be available, what they contain and how they came about.

Promotional Marketing for Books

Though there may be room for Twitter novels in the future of popular fiction, a more current online publishing use for Twitter is to use the feed to announce new book titles and to popularize a writer’s name.

Authors who have effective promotional marketing skills are creating larger followings for themselves by creating a more personal relationship with readers. Twitter provides a perfect avenue for writers to communicate directly with fans, drawing in more readers with this simple, personal communication.

Youth Online Book Marketing

The common perception of Twitter as a popular social marketing tool among the under-24 demographic may lead to its use in youth marketing. However, few people in that demographic actually use Twitter. Promotional marketing may be easy with Twitter, but youth marketing is better undertaken through Facebook and other sites with a high percentage of younger users.

Twitter Marketing Campaign

Many book authors use their Twitter accounts to update readers about new books coming out, the progress they are making on a book or to simply keep readers reminded of the author’s name. With a well-known Twitter presence, authors can attract attention for their books and build a name online.

Writers who use a blog often tie their Twitter accounts to their blogs by sending out a tweet every time there is a new blog post. The blog posts then discuss the book that is being marketed or the progress being made on a new book.

Online Marketing Tools for Publishers

Another way that Twitter has been used is to market a publisher by offering online fiction through Twitter posts. British book publisher Penguin did this with Slice, a story that the publisher made available through Twitter and blog posts. Many online book publishers use Twitter to announce new titles.

Online Book Marketing

In the future, book authors may offer excerpts of their books on Twitter to keep readers interested in the next installment and to interest readers in buying the book. This type of book marketing is already used on blogs and in online bookstores like Amazon. A Twitter feed that allows customers to get a taste of a book can’t be far behind.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Mark Zuckerberg: 2010 Time Person of Year Title

The following is a post about Mark Zuckerberg being named the 2010 Time Person of the Year written by Patrick Mackaronis.

The computer whiz becomes the 83rd such designee; and he is the 77th man, 52nd American and 10th businessman so recognized.

Mark Zuckerberg Public Response Mixed

Public reaction has ranged from complete agreement with the magazine’s choice to scornful derision for what critics called a “safe” choice, with possibly no lasting significance to humanity; and, furthermore, some added it was calculated to incur no political repercussions in this prickly world (C|Net News).

In describing the achievement of the winner, who dropped out of Harvard University in his sophomore year, the Time citation said: “For connecting more than a half billion people and mapping the social relations among them, for creating a new system of exchanging information and for changing how we live our lives, Mark Elliot Zuckerman is Time’s Person of the Year.”

Facebook’s Evolution in Six Years Shows Speed of Digital Age

So astounding is the concept of connecting over 500 million (and counting) subscribers on Facebook, 70 percent of whom live outside the US, that one tends to forget Zuckerberg’s visionary genius in managing the development of the software and platform and management structure to make using the Website simple yet creative in just six years.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the value of the privately-held Facebook is $43.1 billion. This places Zuckerberg, with his equity of $6.9 billion, in a tie as the 35th wealthiest American, according to Forbes magazine.

Time magazine’s top five choices for Person of the Year were:

  1. Mark Zuckerberg
  2. The Tea Party
  3. Julian Assange
  4. Hamid Karzai
  5. The Chilean Miners

Time Person of the Year Title Not Always for Good Deeds

The magazine’s annual selection has expanded in scope considerably, since it first recognized the intrepid Charles Lindberg in 1927, as the planet’s supreme mover and shaker for that year and the one most impacting the lives of people.

The magazine’s editorial folks are quick to point out the citation is not necessarily an honor or good Samaritan award, but a recognition of a person(s), group(s) or thing(s) that have most affected peoples’ lives. Adolph Hitler was the recipient in 1938 and Joseph Stalin in 1939 and 1942.

In 1982 the Computer Was the Most Important Thing

In a radical departure from the “people” convention in making choices, the magazine named the computer in 1982 as the person of the year, although it would be a stretch to say the machine impacted lives greatly that year. IBM had introduced their IBM PC only the year before.

Perhaps the rush to crown the computer was Time’s secret ploy to expedite the developing of artificial intelligence by computers, providing a jump start toward parity with humans and maybe even chimps.

Just suppose the magazine had adopted the “thing” deviancy early on. Is it not entirely possible the rickety Spirit of St. Louis, the plane which Charles Lindberg jockeyed across the stormy Atlantic ten feet above choppy waves at times, would have been named “machine of the year” instead of “Lucky Lindy”?

Zuckerberg Finished 10th in Time Reader Poll

Candidates for Person of the Year are chosen by magazine staffers from outside interviews, archival research, staff filtering discussions and even a poll of Time readers.

Readers parted company with magazine insiders on a number of candidates. For example, the winner Mark Zuckerberg was 10th in the reader poll. Closest match between the pollsters and Time was Julian Assange, the stealthy Wikileaks whistleblower. He was tops in the reader poll and third in the final magazine selection.

A listing of top winners in the reader poll, in order of preferences, follows:

  1. Julian Assange
  2. Recep Tayyip Erdogan
  3. Lady Gaga
  4. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert
  5. Glen Beck
  6. Barack Obama
  7. Steve Jobs
  8. The Chilean Miners
  9. The Unemployed American
  10. Mark Zuckerberg

Men Outnumber Women Seven to One in Annual Recognition

The Time recognition is an event in which women have some catching up to do. Through the years, males have been tapped 77 times, while women have won the acclaim 11 times.

In occupational categories, politicians have dominated results in 54 years; businessmen in ten years; soldiers in six; space pioneers in five; and clergy in four. The rest of the winners are scattered among social activists, law and science.

Mark Zuckerberg Received Distinction for Actions in 2010 Only

There is always a reluctance to drape a mantle such as “Person of the Year” around the shoulders of such a youthful founder of something as grandiose as an engine of social change. There are many directions in which the young global network can metastasize, for good or evil or in between. Only time will tell.

However, it is important to remember the designation of Mark Zuckerberg as “Person of the Year” by Time magazine was not about the future; rather, the acknowledgement was a proclamation that he had affected the lives of over a half billion people on earth in a single year.

Using that criterion alone, he might well be the most deserving recipient since the title was begun in 1927.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Privacy Issues on Facebook

The following is a post regarding Facebook and its abundant privacy related issues by Brabble CEO and Founder Patrick Mackaronis.

Countless social media, despite their common goal of connecting people have now recognized the significance of including privacy settings in their features. This is in response to the unvarying criticisms addressed by Facebook users, politicians and privacy regulators.

Some say it directly contradicts the mere purpose of subscribing to a certain social media. Others say employing privacy settings is a way of giving subscribers a sort of choice in selecting friends and in broadcasting statuses and other details about them.

Facebook, through the course of its popularity, has employed numerous changes trying to satisfy the character of the audience. However not all changes were accepted since some of these have made the use of Facebook more complicated than ever.

The “Like” Button

Facebook’s “Like” button is now being featured to external websites and media. Before this change, the said button only existed for Facebook users who hit the button to approve and share their opinions with friends about posted photos, uploaded videos and other changes in one’s information. Even comment threads can now be “liked” by other subscribers.

At the moment, Facebook estimates more than 350,000 websites with the “Like” feature. In fact, the autonomous technology blogsite, “All Facebook” has nearly 65 million “Like” clicks per day. Other websites have already offered the button without the users knowing that their likes are being exposed and shown on the media, and other sites in the Interweb.

Consequences of the “Like” Button

In an article by Jacquie Mcnish (theglobeandmail.com), the author notes a statement from Ottawa University law professor and Internet advocate David Fewer, “There is a lot of uncertainty about the consequences of the Like button. You don’t know what is going to happen to the information or how it is being stored.”

In 2009, Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart led an investigation on Facebook’s omnipresent “Like” button after receiving an unrevealed objection that the said element violates privacy rights. The agency called for a stricter yet uncomplicated application of Facebook privacy settings.

Stoddart claimed that Facebook was indecently allowing outsiders access to personal photos, information and other data posted by other users.

Facebook and the Canadian Privacy

Los Angeles Times’ Jessica Guyn reports, Canada’s privacy commissioner said that Facebook has resolved concerns she raised a year ago over third-party access to the social networking service’s users.” (Los Angeles Times).

The report further states that before the changes, subscribers who wanted to play games or access third-party applications had to make all of their information available. “In May, Facebook changed its policy, requiring applications to tell users what parts of their profile the applications want to access and to get permission to access them.”

Stoddart said that she is satisfied the way Facebook has created simplified privacy settings and has applied a tool that allows users to control a privacy setting to each photo or comment they post. However, she said that her agency will remain vigilant on probing and monitoring other issues involving Facebook and privacy.

Time Newsfeed writes, “Despite those improvements, Stoddart believes the privacy battle is far from finished.

Redefining Privacy

Facebook has changed its regulation on third-party access to social networking service’s users. The company claims to give users more control over what information they share and with whom by using the customized and simplified privacy settings.

Facebook’s privacy officer Michael Ritcher states, “Making the privacy controls on Facebook comprehensive and easy to understand is an important part of our commitment to giving every person the power to control their own Facebook experience.”

There is still a huge ambiguity regarding how people interpret “privacy” across different nations. With Facebook catering to various nations worldwide, the challenge to satisfy varying audience’s character will persist.

Conversely, some people are now thinking of the possibility that Facebook can serve as a surveillance tool.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Facebook Tabs and Pages for Social Marketing

The following is a post on Facebook tabs and pages, and their use in social media marketing by Brabble CEO and Founder Patrick Mackaronis.

If you are in business or promoting a non-profit organization you probably use Facebook for personal and professional networking. Using a Fan Page on Facebook to promote your company or group is a common way to introduce and maintain relationships with “fans” of your business.

A crop of new technology startups are competing for the privilege of providing you a way to easily create custom Facebook tabs and pages. Let’s look at a few of the companies offering custom Facebook tabs for your company Fan page. None of the applications reviewed here provide customized personal pages, these are strictly for businesses, groups and organizations.

These cloud based solutions connect with your Facebook Fan page(s) and allow you to create and add one or more new custom Tabs and Pages. Some of these applications allow you to use your new custom page for your Facebook landing page. This means when new visitors arrive at your Fan page, they see a customized page, and not your “Wall”.

Facebook Tabs, Many Pages with TabSite

TabSite allows you to create and manage content on one custom tab,per account. One simple template page gives most users the tools they’ll need to design a graphic and link heavy page. The custom facebook page can include have images, videos, and text. Online help is minimal, but email support response is good.

One of the interesting and different aspects of TabSite vs it’s competitors, is the ability to create sub-tabbed pages on the main TabSite page. Each sub-page can have its own custom tab and contain linked buttons, graphics, video, text and more.

TabSite offers a free version that does not expire, but also does not allow you to give the Tab a custom name. Even with the free version it does allow you to create a custom page with the name “Welcome” or “TabSite.”

Subscriptions start at $5/month if you want to add a tab with a custom name. TabSite is not difficult to use but does require some knowledge of HTML, web site design, and basic internet applications.

SplashTab Offers Many Page Layouts

SpalshTab offers a 14-day free trial to try out their service. Unlike TabSite which gives you unlimited page design freedom and no templates, SpashTab gives you many template choices, meaning preformatted pages where you fill in the areas with video, text, graphics and links. The Premium subscription allows you to create your on page layout or template if you can’t find a template that suits your needs.

The Tab names are limited to those on a menu list. There are enough to match up to most common page content, and if you must have a custom Tab name they will do that for an additional fee.

Each account or SplashTab is for one Facebook Fan page only. Additional custom Fan pages require their own paid accounts for each Fan page. Some templates contain buttons or links that require a secondary subscription but do not alert you to that prior to selecting the template. Online help is virtually non-existent on the website, but you can send a message to tech-support.

SplashTab is easy to use with the same level of skill as TabSite, and the templates are very useful and make creating a custom Facebook page fast and easy.

Widgets Galore at NorthSocial

NorthSocial is another new and very slick Facebook Custom Tab and Page application that offers a 14 day trial. NorthSocial differs from the others in offering multiple pre-made apps that are added to a custom page with a couple of clicks. NorthSocial offers everything from customizable sweepstakes, contact, and product pages called “Show & Sell” which links directly with your shopping cart. In addition you can plug in photo galleries, video applications, rating and discussion modules.

Set up and configuration is only a few clicks, which connects NorthSocial with your Facebook account. Subscriptions start at $19 a month. How-to videos are available for each application without having to log in, so you can get a very good idea of what’s involved before signing up.

With the free accounts and trial subscriptions you could give each of these a try and see which best meets your needs. Each application has a strength that distinguishes it from its competitors. Compare and decide which has the features most important to your social network marketing strategy.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Facebook “Like” Button = Improved Communication

The following is a post about Facebook and their Like button by Brabble CEO and Founder Patrick Mackaronis.

There is a feeling among millions of Facebook users that its “Like” button leaves a very limited scope to communicate a non-typographical response to a piece of content. Facebook is all about communication at the end of the day, and anything that limits the ability to communicate goes against the spirit of all that Facebook has come to symbolize.

All Facebook Users are not Equally Communicative

The popularity and usage of Facebook’s Like button arises from the fact there are many Facebook users who may not be very expressive about what they want to convey. So the Like button provides them with an effective option to communicate their reaction without having to actually write a single word. However, the effectiveness of this button is obviously very limited. It fails to differentiate between great liking and average liking. The user of this button has to be content with just a simple “Like” and can do no more with it.

Incentive to Write Well

If Facebook expands the scope of the Like button to include, say, ratings from 1 to 5, or introduce more expressions of appreciation, approval, or even disapproval, both verbal as well as graphic, it can serve as an ideal incentive for the writers to write well. It will enhance the overall interaction between the writers and the readers on the social network. In absence of a response, any good writer is likely to get discouraged with the social network after some time. Quality of content on Facebook certainly needs a facelift, and it can happen only when there is more responsiveness and reactions to a writer’s words.

Motivation for those who Write Comments

Since the same expanded response possibilities would apply to those who write comments on a friend’s Facebook page, the quality of comments would also be enhanced. At present, if any comment deserves a polite disapproval or a thumping approval, there is no option to be so expressive, except writing another comment about it. Those who are not verbose have to be content with only a single choice of expression, “Like.” Multiple choices of expression can change all that, and the entire Facebook experience can get enriched substantially for everyone involved.

Ratings Button can be Optional

There will be some social networking users who may not prefer their content to be rated by others. So the ratings button, in whichever form, can be made optional. The users who do not want it on their Facebook page can hide it with the click of a button. This eliminates the scope for any controversy, and provides a perfectly democratic field for all Facebook users who love to give a vent to their creative thoughts on this wonderful social networking medium.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Tweasier: A Promising Twitter Web App

The following is a post on up and coming Twitter web app Tweasier written by Brabble CEO and Founder Patrick Mackaronis.

While most Twitter clients offer features aimed both at a general audience and at business users, the success of HootSuite in the business and corporate market has led to competitors following the same specialized route. One recent entrant into this field is Tweasier, a U.K.-based company whose web-based client is focused on detailed statistics. But Tweasier also wants to position itself as a client for individual users, and here its current version has a few too many shortcomings to make it a replacement for the more established players.

Tweasier is focused solely on Twitter and lacks support for other social networks

As with other web-based clients, Tweasier requires you to sign up for an account so it can manage your statistics. Once you’ve registered and logged in, you can add multiple Twitter accounts and manage them simultaneously. Unfortunately, Tweasier is strictly a Twitter client and nothing else. Where HootSuite also provides support for Facebook and LinkedIn, you won’t find any such support for other services here. If you need to post status updates across a variety of social networks, Tweasier isn’t the client for you.

Where Seesmic Web and HootSuite use a multi-column interface (and HootSuite further organizes its columns through browser-style tabs), Tweasier’s presentation is strictly single-column. Switching between the main timeline, replies, and direct messages is done by way of the menu bar on the left side. These options can also be accessed from buttons on your profile page. Tweasier is initially slow in loading data from Twitter- in testing with an account with 1094 followers, 444 favorites, and a number of replies, the reply and DM columns initially refused to show any tweets whatsoever but fully loaded the columns after fifteen minutes of usage.

Tweasier lacks real-time loading and its interactions with Twitter are slow

Loading in general is an issue for Tweasier. Now that TweetDeck for Google Chrome has proven that it’s possible to employ Twitter’s User Streams API to enable real-time updating in a web-based client, there’s no excuse for not doing so. But just like HootSuite and Seesmic Web, Tweasier lacks real-time streaming updates. It’s actually even more annoying in this respect than HootSuite, because at least that client allows you to manually set the interval for refreshing the timeline. If Tweasier contains such an option, it’s buried somewhere that isn’t obvious. The FAQ states that Tweasier tries to manage the API in such a way as to avoid rate limit errors, but gives no indication of its methodology for API management.

Options for interacting with tweets are the most limited of any current client. There are only three buttons accompanying each tweet: open in new window, reply, and favorite. This means Tweasier lacks a native retweet option- you either have to manually copy and paste the tweet, or click “open in new window”, which takes you to Twitter itself and allows access to its retweet button. But isn’t the whole point of a Twitter client to replace the Twitter web interface? Tweasier locates buttons for following and unfollowing and sending direct messages beneath users’ profile pictures, and these functions work as advertised.

Options for tweeting in Tweasier are limited compared to TweetDeck or Seesmic

But apart from offering a scheduled tweet feature comparable to HootSuite’s, the options for tweeting are sorely limited. There are no pop-up notifications of any kind, no media uploading features, and the same inconvenient URL shortening found in all other web clients except TweetDeck. Tweasier has an option for linking to your Bit.ly account, but in testing the shortened links did not transfer to Bit.ly automatically as they do with the desktop version of TweetDeck.

Where Tweasier excels is in providing a wealth of statistical information. Within the timeline itself, it lists the number of followers for each user and the client used for tweeting, and while this pales in comparison to the data Seesmic Desktop 2 provides in the same space, it’s still more than you’ll find in most web-based clients. Tweasier also offers detailed metrics options from its Statistics menu, with graphs and charts covering how often and when you tweet, when you get the most replies, frequency of retweets, and link sharing.

Tweasier’s detailed stats features are undermined by technical issues

The problem is that the statistics pages are plagued with technical issues. Frequently, they refused to load at all, yielding an error page instead. When they did work, they loaded incomplete data. The friends and followers graphs were missing a year and a half’s worth of information, and the link statistics chart showed only links shortened by Bit.ly through Tweasier and not other links associated with the same Bit.ly account.

Tweasier is clearly very much a work in progress, and it should improve once many of the technical issues are ironed out. Still, it’s hard to see it appealing to individuals who are already using established Twitter clients. It lacks too many of the features that TweetDeck and Seesmic have caused us to take for granted. But if the developers add support for more services and improve its stability, it could easily compete with HootSuite in the business market and with people who are interested in charts and graphs.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Dungeons and Dragons: Tiny Adventures

The following is a post on the Facebook game Dungeons and Dragons: Tiny Adventures by Brabble CEO and Founder Patrick Mackaronis.

Wizard of the Coast’s role-playing game application Dungeons and Dragons Tiny Adventures for Facebook allows players the ability to D&D adventure without requiring any bit of effort whatsoever. The player chooses a character, equips armor and weapons, purchases items at a shop, and partakes in adventures. The game basically plays itself, as a simple die-roll added to the character’s attributes determines success upon various encounters.

Despite its simplicity, or very likely because of it, Dungeons and Dragons: Tiny Adventures offers months of entertainment with very little time investment required.

Below is a list of various unlockables achieved through generations. The generation level increases every time a hero retires at Lv 11.

List of Generation Unlocks / Bonuses in Dungeons and Dragons: Tiny Adventures

Generation Unlock (1): Pass down one item to the next hero. This simply means the player can choose any one piece of equipment to pass down to the next generation hero. Items that sell for more money are more rare and typically better items to pass down. Extremely rare items like the Invulnerable Coat of Arnd offer great bonuses for a new hero. Always make sure the item can be used by the next hero’s desired class.

Generation Unlock (2): Expanded selection at The Shop. This one is fairly self-explanatory. More selection at the store makes it more likely to find good items to equip for the hero to raise the hero’s encounter success rate.

Generation Unlock (3): Basic class power is unlocked. The class power, or class ability, is a move unique to each class, used similarly to potions by clicking on the icon. The Fighter can use “Unstoppable” to gain +2 Strength and some damage reduction for a few rounds, the Wizard can use “Magic Missile” to gain +5 attack for three rounds, etc.

Generation Unlock (4): A new hero mode is available: ironman mode. Ironman mode is the same as playing the game normally, except that if the hero dies in the adventure, the hero is dead permanantly and the player must create a new hero. The only real benefit to playing ironman mode is to be ranked on a different set of leaderboards, and to simply increase the difficulty of the game, if desired.

Generation Unlock (5): New class available: Swordmage. The Swordmage is a unique character class that uses Intelligence as the primary stat, but uses swords and daggers and dual-weilding for weapons. The Swordmage’s first class ability forces one encounter to roll 10, allowing crafty players to plan a gaurenteed success on the final encounter. Swordmage is actually one of the better classes, and the male version has the best portrait, hands-down (see the pictures below).

Generation Unlock (7): Pass along one quarter of your final gold to the next hero. Again, a somewhat self-explanatory perk. If nothing good can be found in the shop, simply save the money to pass down to the next hero.

Generation Unlock (10): Advanced class power is unlocked. The second class power for all classes is unlocked. Class powers vary significantly by usefulness.

Generation Unlock (12): New hero mode available: elite mode! Elite mode is the same as Ironman mode, which means if you’re dead, you’re dead, but elite mode adds an added -2 challange. This effectively makes all encounters a +2 difficulty on top of the threat of permanent death. Once again, the only added benefit is scoring on a different set of leaderboards. Ironman and Elite modes also keep the game entertaining after all other generation bonuses have been unlocked.

Dungeons and Dragons: Tiny Adventures Generation Unlocks Conclusion

It may seem as though it’s taking forever to unlock all the bonuses through increased generations. Don’t worry about it; Dungeons & Dragons Tiny Adventures is a Facebook RPG with a relaxed, slow pace, and should be played as such. Think of the unlocks more as bonuses attained for playing, as opposed to goals to achieve, to keep the pace relaxed and enjoyable.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Twitter No-No’s: Ten Things To Avoid Doing

The following is a post on ten Twitter no-no’s written by Brabble CEO and Founder Patrick Mackaronis.

Twitter can either be a powerful marketing tool, or a waste of time, depending on how you use it.

Instead of going over the benefits of Twitter as a marketing tool (which will be in another article), this will explain 10 things you should never do on Twitter.

  1. Market yourself too much

If all you do is market your own work, people will get tired of you real quick. Twitter is a community, so you need to be sharing other people’s work as well. Plus, retweeting is a great way to get noticed.

  1. Post just a single link

If you post just a link without any description around it, it means absolutely nothing to us. Say something clever in front of the link to entice people to click.

  1. Post the sample link/phrase over and over and over again

If all you do is post your website or phrase tweet after tweet, you’re going to lose followers real quick. Twitter may be a great way to market yourself, but if this is the method you choose, you better be prepared for no followers.

  1. Complain

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but nobody likes a negative nancy. People aren’t going to be able to take that for very long. People want to follow upbeat individuals who have something of relevance to say.

  1. Never follow anyone

Unless you’re a celebrity, at first you’ll need to follow everyone that follows you. It’s not only common courtesy, but you’re showing that you care about what they have to say.

  1. Never provide an image

If you never upload a picture, it will be highly unlikely that you’ll get many followers. People like to know that there’s a real person behind the tweets.

  1. Never provide a description

If there’s nothing in your description box then there’s nothing telling people why they should follow you. What makes you awesome? That’s what should go in your description box.

  1. Praise how awesome you are

If all you do is praise how great you are at whatever you do, you’re going to lose followers quickly. We want interaction and we want to be noticed just as much as you do.

  1. Never interact with others

If you never retweet, @ or interact with anyone in general, your authority on Twitter will dwindle. As stated above, people want to be heard and noticed just as much as you do.

  1. Be following 1,000s of more people than are following you

If you’re follow a ton more people than are following you, it looks bad. Don’t follow more than 30 people than are following you. Even 30 is pushing it, but I realize we all need to start somewhere.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

All a Twitter: Still The Best Book About Twitter

As Twitter has grown in popularity, a number of guides have appeared on bookstore shelves promising to help ordinary people understand and make efficient use of its features. One of the earliest of these volumes is still the best: All a Twitter: A Personal and Professional Guide to Social Networking with Twitter by Tee Morris.

While the book’s consideration of Twitter clients has dated somewhat, the advice Morris gives for using Twitter is just as applicable now as when the book was first published.

Tee Morris covers the basics of using Twitter and how it’s different from Facebook or IM programs

Tee Morris is the rare author who is equally skilled at writing technical guides and fiction (he specializes in detective novels and steampunk fantasy), and his personal voice gives All a Twitter much of its appeal.

Though he does work regularly with technology, creating and producing podcasts in particular, he approaches Twitter from the perspective of an ordinary user. This makes All a Twitter far more useful to the average person than the many online articles about learning how to use Twitter, as the latter tend to focus more on a business audience.

The early chapters of All a Twitter cover the basics of Twitter usage. One of the most useful points Morris makes here is that Twitter is distinct not only from other social networks such as Facebook, but also from IM programs, and that trying to use Twitter to converse in the same way as with an IM program is a bad idea.

Yes, Twitter is about conversation and engagement, but it’s a different sort of conversation, and Morris gives good advice as far as differentiating the kinds of conversations that should be private as opposed to public.

Morris provides useful advice for getting started on Twitter and editing tweets for conciseness

From there, the book tackles the basics of setting up an account. While tech-savvy types will already know how to do the things Morris discusses in these chapters, the level of detail he provides is perfectly suited to new users.

He walks the user through each step of the process, from registration and login to writing a good Twitter profile bio and choosing appropriate display pictures. In particular, he discusses how it’s best for individuals to use images of themselves while logos should be used only for corporate accounts using Twitter for business purposes. This is advice is in keeping with Morris’ overall focus on personalizing the Twitter experience.

Naturally, this advice extends to actually writing tweets, and as a professional writer, Morris is in the perfect position to discuss how to edit and consolidate thoughts to create the perfect, compelling tweet. In a medium that limits the user to 140 characters, concise expression is key, and Morris gives step-by-step examples of whittling away at a sentence until only the essentials that fit within the limit remain.

(He also makes no secret of his disdain for services that allow users to write longer tweets, something that defeats the whole purpose of the character limit.)

The book’s discussion of Twitter’s signal-to-noise ratio is one of its most effective sections

Morris also focuses on the notion of the signal-to-noise ratio on Twitter, meaning how to strengthen the flow of useful information while filtering out useless or negative ideas. In explaining this idea, he goes against the conventional wisdom of many self-appointed Twitter gurus (Guy Kawasaki in particular) by stating that it isn’t always a good idea to follow back everyone that follows you.

His reasons for this make perfect sense for individual users: why follow back spammers and bots who will only contribute noise to your Twitter feed? Instead, it’s best to find the accounts that will contribute the most to the signal and follow them, whether they follow you or not. It’s nice to see some common sense applied to this question, rather than a regurgitation of received ideas.

A large portion of the book covers individual Twitter clients, with chapters focusing on desktop programs, iPhone apps, and clients for other smartphones. (Morris admits he has little experience with the BlackBerry and relies on other contributors- fully credited in a highly personable fashion- to flesh out this section.)

Naturally, this part of the book is the most dated, though one conclusion remains the same- TweetDeck is still the dominant desktop Twitter client. But since Morris regularly reviews new clients and new versions of older programs on his Bird House Rules podcast, there’s plenty of supplementary material available to make up for these chapters being out of date.

The book also skillfully deals with Twitter’s negative side

Morris also covers some of the less positive aspects of Twitter: dealing with spammers and bots, how to avoid alienating followers with excessive personal information, and how to avoid becoming too addicted to Twitter. He discusses going on a “Twitter fast” for a week to decompress and engage with the real world, and it’s a worthwhile suggestion for avoiding overimmersion in social media.

On the whole, All a Twitter remains the best book published on the subject of getting the most out of Twitter. Tee Morris has an engaging personal style that makes the book highly enjoyable, it’s structured in a cohesive way so as to first introduce new users to the basics and then to the more complex tools available to power users, and it doesn’t shy away from the less positive aspects of Twitter and social media as a whole. It’s a great starting point for anyone new to tweeting, and a good refresher for veterans of social media.

Social Network Site Launches Facebook Stories and Facebook Places

Last month, a popular social networking site reached an important milestone. On 2014, Facebook announced 500 million people now actively use the service. The site has grown by leaps-and-bounds in just a few short years since its launching in 2004. In fact, Facebook is touted as the world’s largest social networking site with a population larger than the United States, Mexico and France combined.

Social networking websites allow users to connect with friends, family and loved ones all over the world. The social networking giant recently announced the launching of two brand new tools – Facebook Places and Facebook Stories.

Facebook Stories

In July, the social networking site launched its new Facebook Stories feature. Whether inspirational, political, humorous or heartfelt, users can now share personal stories or read the stories of other users.

The stories are categorized by a variety of themes including love, politics, military, pets, health, sports, college, religion, family and reunions. Users can also select stories by geographical location by clicking on the integrated Bing map available in 2D, 3D, aerial, bird’s eye and road views.

Sharing a story is simple – just write the story and select the appropriate theme. The story will be shared with friends via the News Feed. The most popular stories will be featured in the “Most Popular” section of the site.

Facebook Places

If you have a special location you’d like to share with friends and family, Facebook Places may be just the ticket. The new location-based service allows users to share their favorite restaurant, beach, camping spot or show with others in real time from a mobile device.

Whether you are enjoying an action-packed flick or eating a great meal, Facebook’s new geolocation features allow your friends to know exactly where you are. The check in option allows users to share exact whereabouts with other users. Once checked in, your information will appear on the Facebook Place page, News Feed and your Wall.

The application is simple to use. Just click the “check in” button and select your location. If the location is not listed, add it to the list. The “Here Now” section of the application allows users to see who else is in the area. And if you “tag” any friends you are with, they too will be part of the update. Depending on customized settings, users select who can and cannot see the information.

In order to use Places, the newest Facebook iPhone application must first be installed on your device. Users with other web-enabled mobile devices will be able to use the feature in the future. Places is currently being rolled out and is only available in the U.S.

Facebook Places Privacy Concerns

While various organizations and users have criticized Facebook’s lack of privacy controls and security features, the social networking site is pushing back against the criticism regarding Places. Users control aspects of the Places feature by accessing individual account settings located on the top-right hand of the Facebook page. Users can select one of the four privacy options under the “Privacy Settings” area. By clicking the “Customize Settings” link, users can fine-tune personal settings as well. Visit Facebook for more specific information on privacy issues.

Facebook Places and Stories are just two more reasons to connect with friends and loved ones on Facebook.

Myspace Mobsters Secrets: Mission Mastery Rewards

Different missions are unlocked as players progressively level up through the game. There is a wide variety of missions and some have to be performed in order to obtain items that meet requirements for other missions.

Each mission has four different Mastery levels, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Reaching each level of Mastery rewards an item, some are quite valuable and others leave players wondering why they wasted their time and energy. The rewards listed below are Platinum level Mission Mastery Rewards.

Da Bronx Missions

The most rewarding Mission Mastery in Da Bronx is the Raid National Guard Armory mission. The Platinum reward is an Experimental Rhino Tank.

Although it sounds silly, the Expresso Maker that is received from the Residential Burglary mission is one of the first things players need to acquire because it speeds up the Energy regeneration by 5 percent.

Other notable missions in Da Bronx include: Mob War that rewards 1 Battle Hardened Capo and Grand Theft Auto which results in 1 Perimeter Watchman.

Downtown Missions

The mission with the highest energy requirement of the Downtown Missions, Elect Capo to Mayor’s Office, rewards a Mayor’s Private Jet. The Federal Gold Reserve Heist rewards 2 Crooked Accountants, while the Bank Robbery Mission rewards 1 Crooked Accountant.

The Infiltrate a Hospital and Loot a Weapons Cache Missions both reward a Perimeter Watchman. Infiltrate the Police Department Mission rewards a Crooked Cop. The Negotiate a City Sanitation Contract rewards a Garbage Truck.

Jersey Missions

The rewards for the Jersey Missions are not spectacular when compared to some of the other Mission Mastery rewards. However, the most useful reward is the Swiss Bank Account rewarded by the Credit Card Fraud mission because it increases the frequency of the cash flow payout by 10 percent.

  • Sell Counterfit Rolexes – 3 Crooked Accountants
  • Infiltrate a Rival Mob – 2 Battle Hardened Capo’s
  • Engineer a Prison Breakout – 2 Banditos
  • Pimp My Ride – 1 Pagani Zonda F
  • Credit Card Fraud – 1 Swiss Bank Account

Outta Town Missions

The Revolution in Central America Mission and Raid Lockheed Research Missions are unique in that they both reward valuable items for both Gold and Platinum level Mastery.

A Presidente’s Pleasure Yacht is the Gold level reward and a Generalissimo is the Platinum reward for the Central America Mission. An Experimental Exoskeleton and 2 Drug Lords are the Gold and Platinum level rewards for the Raid Lockheed Research Mission.

  • Take Over a Former Soviet Republic – 1 Former KGB Director
  • Reality Speculation – 2 Crooked Cops
  • Take Over a Catskill Resort – 1 Saratoga Springs Spa
  • Locate a Foreign Safehouse – 1 Bandito
  • Unregistered Weapons Procurement – 1 Winchester ‘94

The other Mission Mastery rewards for Missions not listed here reward either Cash, Skill Points, Favor Points, items already attainable, or hired guns. Hired guns increase player’s mob size allowing them to fight with more mobsters. If enough Favor points are accumulated, players can use them to purchase special limited edition items that regularly become available.

As most missions in the game require large amounts of energy, knowing what each mission rewards will allow players to distribute the energy they attain in the best way possible. Energy is very hard to come by in the game; the best way to acquire it for missions is to take advantage of the Top Mob Energy Feature.