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Small and medium firms embrace social networks

Research by American City Business Journals, a publisher covering 41 major markets across the U.S., has found that social networks and social media marketing are now used extensively by small-to-mid-sized businesses.

“I agree completely,” said Delaney Boling, social media director at Boling Associates in Fresno. “Businesses are advertising on social media sites. It’s really picking up steam.”

The study looked at general use of the sites and not necessarily advertising.

Over the past four years, the percentage of small and medium business owners and key decision makers using social networks has risen three-fold, from 28 percent to 76 percent, according the American City Business Journals’ most recent small-medium business insights study. It found that business owners are not simply logging on for personal reasons.

Two thirds are currently using social networks like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Google+ for business networking purposes. More than half have formal social media strategies in place while 19 percent confirm that they are generating revenues directly from the sites.

Not surprisingly, those engaged with social networks are more open to other alternative media options including 83 percent of social media marketers that use YouTube for business purposes.

Boling said he has seen the greatest amount of business social networking in Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. YouTube has worked well for companies that have produced commercials or have other kinds of visual programs, Boling said.

And Google+ is growing and useful, Boling said.

He added that use of social networks could boost a company’s search engine optimization, also known as SEO. “Companies are getting results and interaction,” Boling said.

The study found that overall, medium-sized business owners with social network strategies in place have strong sales averaging $7.1 million annually. Those companies have about 25 employees and have been in business for more than 28 years.

Businesses that use social media, which are the communication technologies run on social network sites, tend to be tend to be younger and more frequently run by woman and minorities.  Read More

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Del. House passes social media privacy bill

The Delaware House on Tuesday passed a bill prohibiting public and private schools in Delaware from requiring that students or applicants for enrollment provide their social networking login information.

With little debate, House members voted unanimously for the bill. It also prohibits schools and universities from requesting that a student or applicant log onto a social networking site so that school officials can access the site profile or account.

“With the number of kids who have social media sites and choose to share information with a select audience, I thought it was important to provide them some protection if they choose not to share that with the entire world,” said Rep. Darryl Scott, D-Dover, the legislation’s chief sponsor.

The bill initially introduced by Scott applied only to universities and institutions of higher education. An amendment approved Tuesday expands the scope of the legislation to primary and secondary schools as well. The amendment also allows for exemptions for investigations by police agencies or a school’s public safety department based on a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or a school’s threat assessment policy or protocol.  Read More

LinkedIn Recommendations: Things You Should Know

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LinkedIn is continuing to grow rapidly, which means more people are using the tool for intelligence, recruitment, and networking. A social space like LinkedIn can make specific individuals stand out among others; a specific way individuals can best leverage this social network is by gathering recommendations on their LinkedIn profile.

Here are some guidelines for LinkedIn recommendations:

1. Ask For Specific Recommendations

When you ask someone for a recommendation, make sure the request is personal and polite. LinkedIn will autofill the recommendation request text box, but remember to take that out. Replace it with asking the person for a recommentaion for something specific you worked on together. Also, ask the person to include what happened as a result of working together. Specific information showing how your skill or work was used reflects well on you.

2. Don’t Ask Everyone

Don’t send out a defaulted autofill recommendation to all of your connections, because most of those connections haven’t worked with you close enough. You also want to keep the recommendations business related; you don’t want your best friend or landlord to recommend you in a way that doesn’t relate to business.

3. Don’t Ignore a Request

If you receive a recommendation request from someone that you don’t really know that well, don’t ignore it. Say something like “Thanks for the recommendation request, but I don’t feel that I can endorse your work, since we don’t really know each other that well.” With a response like this, you have let the person down gently and didn’t just leave them hanging.

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Be Social Media Savvy for Landing a Job

Millions of people have embraced online networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, but too few understand how much influence these sites can have in accelerating their job search and career.

In my experience, we are finding a widespread use of social media—including more playful sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as the business-focused LinkedIn—is becoming a powerful force in many job searches

More and more people are finding jobs via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. These sites aren’t changing how we look for jobs; they are simply rebooting the traditional habits of successful job hunters and making them easier.

To boost your job search you need to build a better network. While people used to pursue potential employers for their business cards at conferences and mixers, now sites like Twitter offer a better alternative. Lots of recruiters, hiring managers, and industry leaders hang out on Twitter, swapping job leads and industry updates. Share evidence of your good work in your Twitter feed to garner attention from recruiters and hiring managers. Rather than dragging your portfolio to an interview, use high traffic sites such as YouTube and Pinterest to showcase your work (Pinterest, the less known of the two, is a site in which you build a profile by pinning pictures). Recruiters increasingly search the web to look for the best candidates.  Read More

Facebook, Zuckerberg sued over IPO

Facebook shareholders have sued the social network, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and a number of banks, alleging that crucial information was concealed ahead of Facebook’s IPO.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan this morning, charges the defendants with failing to disclose in the critical days leading up to Friday’s initial public offering “a severe and pronounced reduction” in forecasts for Facebook’s revenue growth, as users more and more access Facebook through mobile devices, according to Reuters, which cited a law firm for the plaintiffs. (The case: Brian Roffe Profit Sharing Plan v. Facebook, 12-04081.)

Earlier this month, Facebook updated its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission to say that the shift to smartphones and other mobile gadgets is cutting into the prices it can set for advertisers, which would in turn hurt the company’s revenue. In March, the social network had 488 million monthly average unique users of its mobile products, out of a total of just over 900 million registered users.

The plaintiffs charge that the changes to the forecast by several underwriters of the IPO were only “selectively disclosed” to a small group of preferred investors and not to the investment community at large. “The value of Facebook common stock has declined substantially and plaintiffs and the class have sustained damages as a result,” the complaint says, per the Reuters report.  Read More

With 12M+ Downloads, Scan Launches Scan-to-gram, A New Way To Follow People On Instagram

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Three guys from Provo, Utah set out on a mission to make QR codes, those boring pixellated, black-and-white squares come alive — in other words, to extend their functionality by turning them into realworld “like,” “follow,” and “buy” buttons. And it’s been working. In February, Scan closed a seed funding round from Shervin Pishevar, Google Ventures, CRV, Start Fund, Social + Capital, Ludlow Ventures, and more. The company moved their operations from Utah to San Francisco, and is currently sitting at just over 12 million downloads across iOS devices.

How did it become one of the top downloaded QR code scanner in just over a year? Because, beyond the basic scanning functionality offered by a host of iOS and Android apps, Scan offers a variety of services and features that let SMBs and enterprise companies create mobile optimized QR code, NFC, and other tech experiences to let users can QR codes with their phone and immediately “like” products or businesses on Facebook, follow on Twitter, check in on Foursquare, etc. Check out how businesses are using it hereRead More

Facebook Enlists InfoSec Mavens for Big Malware Vaccination

Constant hammering by hackers and mutilation by malware have motivated Facebook to enact new security measures.

It’s now incorporating the malicious URL databases from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), McAfee, Trend Micro (Nasdaq: TMIC), Sophos and Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) into its URL blacklist system, which scans trillions of clicks a day.

The social networking giant has also launched an antivirus marketplace from which users can download full versions of these companies’ AV offerings at no charge.

“The vendors mentioned represent a substantial portion of the installed antimalware base,” Aryeh Goretsky, a Distinguished Researcher at ESET, told TechNewsWorld.

“We are actively looking for new partners and are continually looking to expand our URL database,” Facebook spokesperson Johanna Peace told TechNewsWorld.  Read More

Startup Improves Google Social Search

A startup called Wajam has created a more useful social search experience for Google than Google could.

Google’s own three-month-old social search product is called “Search Plus Your World.” But given the absence of Twitter and Facebook updates in the product’s results, it would be more appropriate to call it “Search Plus Your Google+.”

Wajam, which first launched its free browser extension last year, includes other social networks in search results.

The startup introduced a new interface on Monday that sets its search results to the right of Google search results. When users make a Google search query, they can filter social results by specific friends who posted status updates, photos or videos about a specific term. They can select, for instance, only photos that their friend Bob posted on Facebook or only videos Danielle posted to Twitter.

Wajam’s plugin also brings social search to Yahoo, Bing and about 30 other websites — although not all of them are search engines. On TripAdvisor, Amazon, Yelp and eBay, Wajam adds a social search bar to the top of the page for relevant recommendations.  Read More

Twitter reveals effects of the recession on public mood

Social media such as Twitter and the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) network were partially to blame for the riots which swept across the UK last summer, but now a new analysis of British tweets reveals that the public mood was turning long before the first riot took place.

Thomas Lansdall-Welfare and colleagues at the University of Bristol measured the emotional content of 484 million tweets from between July 2009 and January 2012, organising them into four lists: joy, fear, anger and sadness. It is not the first time researchers have analysed tweets in this way, but the Bristol team wanted to see if particular events were reflected in the emotions on Twitter, rather than just general sentiments.

Their analysis found that certain annual events always result in a spike of emotion each year. For example, there is always a large increase in joy on Christmas Day, along with smaller spikes on New Year’s Day, Easter and Valentine’s Day. Other emotions show similar spikes at regular points, such as an increase in sadness on Halloween.

The researchers also found other changes connected to one-off events. There was a noticeable change in fear and anger levels on 20 October 2010, the day on which the UK government announced significant budget cuts as a result of the recession, and the average public mood still remains at a higher level of these emotions than before the cuts were announced.

Jacob Aron, technology reporter

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(Image: Geoffrey Robinson/Rex Features)

There was, however, some reduction in fear and anger in the run up to the royal wedding in April 2011, suggesting Price William and Kate Middleton’s impending nuptials had a calming effect on the public mood. Following the wedding there was a sharp rise in anger, culminating at a peak on 6 August 2011, the date of the first UK riot. Read More

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