Flush with cash, JPMorgan's new Digital Growth Fund -- created to give private investors a stake in the burgeoning social media marketplace -- is angling for a minority stake in Twitter, which might value the site at $4.5 billion, according to the Financial Times. Negotiations are still in their preliminary stages, but a potential deal would value Twitter at roughly the value ($4.3 billion) suggested by trading in Twitter shares on SharesPost, a secondary market which first came to prominence with trading in private shares of Facebook.
Not long after Goldman Sachs raised a cool billion from private investing clients for Facebook, JPMorgan is getting into the social media game with $1.2 billion raised from its own private investing clients. In a sign of the huge interest in social media -- and more specifically, confidence in its profit potential -- the new JP Morgan Digital Growth Fund raised roughly twice the original target of $500-$700 million. While no specific investment candidates were named, press reports indicate it will only invest in social media businesses with proven business models (limiting the field considerably).
This week has seen a flurry of activity in social media for kids, with the launch of imbee (targeting 8-14-year-olds) followed by the news that Disney has acquired Togetherville, a social network for kids under the age of 10, founded in 2007. Like other social networks for kids, including imbee, Club Penguin and Minyanville's Minyanland, Togetherville aims to provide a safe online environment for kids to socialize, with more parental oversight and control than may be offered by general market social nets like Facebook and MySpace.
Whether their parents like it or not, some children are always going to find ways to use social media, for the same reasons adults are drawn to it -- because they find it intriguing and want to socialize with their peers online. Once concerned parents admit this fact, the best strategy is probably risk management -- which includes channeling their kids' social media activity into relatively safe spaces designed just for them.
M.C. Hammer has had an interesting life, to say the least, from his stint in the U.S. Navy, to glory days when he was arguably the most famous musician in the world, to bankruptcy, to his reinvention as a social media superstar. He is also an acute and rousing public speaker, as the audience at the Gravity Summit at UCLA learned on Tuesday, when Hammer turned an awards acceptance speech (naming him social media marketer of the year for 2010) into a brief but sweeping review of the progress of social media over the last decade.
Discussion about the role of social media in the Egyptian Revolution has been by turns insightful and inane, swinging back and forth between profound principles and trite truisms. One of the least interesting (and yet most oft-remarked) truths to emerge from all this sound and fury is that social media didn't "do" the revolution all by itself; it's interesting to see how many people left furiously mistyped indignant comments to that effect in response to articles which never made any such claim, including my own.
Social media has not only played a key role in the popular revolts sweeping the Middle East from an organizational perspective; it has also been used as a tool by U.S. intelligence for monitoring the progress of the uprisings, and will doubtless be an important source of information for historians and diplomats studying the motivations and dynamics (including immediate flashpoints and long-term trends in sentiment) which produced these remarkable and very complicated events.
The news media drives more Twitter trends than do bloggers, according to a new study from HP Labs social computing division, titled "Trends in Social Media: Persistence and Decay." While perhaps unsurprising, the study -- based on an analysis of 16.32 million tweets on 3,361 topics sent over a 40-day period -- is testimony to the continued reach and influence of established media companies, confirming an earlier trend which saw most blogs drawing primary content from news outlets (rather than each other).
After social media helped Barack Obama win the White House in 2008 and carried Republicans to victory in the 2010 midterm elections, it's clear politicians can no more afford to ignore its transformative potential than marketers, advertisers, and other professionals.
"Where the Ladies At" is a clever app for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, aggregating location-based data from female Foursquare users to tell users (who I will stereotype as amorous, single males on the prowl) the thing they most want to know, namely, where the ladies at. This information is presented in an easily-understood graphic format, with a compass needle pointing users to where the ladies at. Currently limited to San Francisco, the app ranks venues by the number of ladies at them, limiting the count to ladies who checked in during the last half hour.