• The Cause That Refreshes: Project Boosts Pepsi Brand, Not Sales
    One year in, the Pepsi Refresh Project encapsulates both the potential of social media and some of its paradoxes: specifically, is there any way to be sure, going into a social media campaign, that it will actually help sell your product? By all accounts, Pepsi Refresh has been a big success in its stated goals of raising Pepsi's brand awareness and burnishing the brand's image, but sales are off nearly 9%.
  • Fast-Growing Companies Use Social Media More (But 'More' Is As Little As Just One Tweet)
    America's fastest-growing companies are significantly more likely to use social media than their larger, established peers, according to a two studies by the UMass Dartmouth's Center for Marketing Research. The UMass Dartmouth center conducted longitudinal surveys of the Inc. 500, which lists the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., and the Fortune 500, listing the largest companies, to determine how many have adopted different types of social media. According to the UMass Dartmouth comparisons, 71% of the fast-growing companies on the Inc. 500 list said they have Facebook pages, while 59% use Twitter, 50% maintain a corporate blog, and 33% use …
  • Egypt Protests Prove Malcolm Gladwell Wrong, Wrong, Wrong
    It's one thing to write a lengthy think piece in the New Yorker explaining why social media will never play a significant role in "real" social activism (contradicting conventional wisdom in intriguing, highly marketable fashion). It's another thing to be self-evidently, embarrassingly wrong in this assertion. But to be actually proven wrong in spectacular fashion by historic events which no one can ignore, occurring just a few months later -- well that's just funny.
  • Insurance Companies Use Social Media to Look for Fraud
    From a certain perspective, the development of modern society has for the most part simply been the gradual extension of technologies for monitoring individuals through channels including civil bureaucracy, the courts, public education, credit histories, and actual electronic surveillance by security cameras and the like. But this Orwellian process will only be complete when individuals assume responsibility for spying on themselves -- and we may have finally reached that glorious day thanks to social media.
  • Twitter Is Not a Suitable Medium for Trash Talking
    Professional football players really seem to love their Twitter, which is usually great for fans and reporters: despite rules preventing them from tweeting during games, tweets from the off the field -- say, during rough preseason practices -- can still provide a picture into their tactics, motivation and morale. But the events surrounding the group humiliation and shaming of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler leave me no choice but to bust out some advice for the footballers: Gentlemen, talking trash on Twitter just makes you look like a bunch of whiny wusses.
  • Google Wants to Move Faster -- But Where?
    Success can be deadly: just look at the dinosaurs, who got so big they needed an executive assistant brain in their butt -- then ceded the planet to those quick, smart little mammals. Recognizing that the same thing can happen to corporations, Google's top management surprised the business world this week with the announcement that Eric Schmidt is stepping down from his position as CEO, handing over the reins to co-founder Larry Page, who previously served as CEO from 1998-2001, while co-founder Sergey Brin is giving up the title of president.
  • FEMA: Social Media Doing a Heckuva Job
    It might not be the best advertising adjacency, but social media has huge potential for collecting and disseminating information and helping coordinate disaster responses, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate, who told reporters that FEMA will make more use of social media (including mobile access) during future emergencies.
  • Goldman's Facebook Fiasco, Or, Stupid Regulator Tricks
    Nobody much likes bankers nowadays, and I'm no different. I also try to maintain a healthy skepticism about the surging value of social media companies, since the nascent social media market has many characteristics of a bubble. So it feels odd to be sticking up for Goldman Sachs following its Big Fat Facebook Flop. But this fiasco -- however satisfying it may be in terms of schadenfreude -- strikes me as another instance of pointless, counter-productive regulatory intervention.
  • Ski Resorts Embrace Place-based Social Media
    Some kinds of business just seem to lend themselves to social media integration. Obviously the more consumer-facing the business is, the more sense it makes to use social media: I can't really see, say, steelmakers or shipbuilders jumping on the social media band wagon. Sports and leisure, on the other hand, couldn't be better-suited: most of these activities are inherently social, and now technology allows brands to both exploit and encourage the special kind of emotional engagement which results from doing something as part of a group. Thus the winter of 2010-2011 has seen ski resorts rushing to introduce proprietary, …
  • Bubblicious: Groupon's Value Increases $10 Billion for No Reason
    Okay, this settles it: we are in the midst of a social media bubble, and it is getting bigger at an alarming rate. Worse, it is about to ascend to the next stage of insanity -- and become a Bonafide Bubble -- as companies go public and everyone is invited to get rich quickly and effortlessly by doing the same thing as all the other people trying to get rich quickly and effortlessly. What is all this doom and gloom based on? Since December the estimated value of Groupon, the social deal juggernaut with plans to go public in the …
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