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Twitter Breaks News of Whitney Houston Death 27 Minutes Before Press

February 12, 2012 1 comment

Twenty-seven minutes before mainstream media broke the news of Whitney Houston’s death on Saturday night, the story was on Twitter, reported by a man who tweeted the news out to his 14 followers.

A tweet — sent at 4:57 p.m. PT — from the Associated Press that confirmed Houston’s death by citing her publicist was retweeted more than 10,000 times, according to data from Topsy Labs. However, the first tweet to reveal the news was sent at 4:30 p.m. PT and was only retweeted once. Read more…

Optimize your tweet reach with Buffer and SocialBro

February 10, 2012 2 comments

HOW TO Post Your Tweets At Optimal Times

Ever wondered what your truly best times to Tweet are? Knowing when you can reach most of your friends and followers can have a huge impact. We found that it can increase the number of clicks by 200%, double your retweets and considerably increase your Klout score.

The guys at Buffer sat down with the team from SocialBro and brainstormed a solution for you.

SocialBro is a wonderful Social Media dashboard that gives you a huge amount of information about your Twitter account. Personally I have been very successful understanding more where my followers are from, whom I engage with the most and much more.

Buffer is an amazing tool that allows you to schedule the content you find online and add it to your Twitter stream (it also works on Facebook). The app publishes the tweets according to the times you choose and, as we can read on its site, “with Buffer, we do the scheduling and let you focus on the sharing!”.

And as of today, SocialBro also integrates with Buffer. This works in the most hassle free way possible. Simply with the click of one button.

With this new feature, now you will be able to configure the times for scheduling your tweets via Buffer with the help of our Best Time to Tweet reportSocialBro calculates your best times to tweet during the week, helping you spread your content at the times you have more followers online. Isn’t it fantastic! Read more…

Who Is Your Most Valuable Twitter Follower? This App Will Tell You

February 5, 2012 2 comments

There’s no reason to determine your virtual worth based solely on the number of people who follow you on Twitter — not when you can find the number of people who follow your followers, at least.

That’s what an app launched Monday promises to tell you, and along the way, it will also name your single Most Valuable Follower. Read more…

For wider appeal, PlayStation Vita can do non-gaming apps like Twitter and Flickr (video)

January 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Sony knows that the PlayStation Vita is going to live or die on how good the games are for it. So said Guy Longworth, senior vice president of marketing and PSN at Sony’s games division, in a dinner interview at theConsumer Electronics Show. The ads and marketing campaigns beginning soon will reflect that.

But with the PS Vita, Sony has a chance to appeal to the larger mass market of non-gamers because it can do a lot more than just play games.

The PS Vita debuts in the U.S. on Feb. 22 and it has already launched in Japan. If it takes off, Sony has a chance to fend off the dual threats of the Nintendo 3DS and the Apple iPhone in portable gaming. With the PS Vita, Sony has a chance to capture the crowd of hardcore gamers who have been waiting for a great portable system to play hardcore games such as first-person shooters. But it also has a chance to get mainstream users by incorporating apps such as Twitter and Flickr.

Longworth agreed that the PS Vita could become the mainstream controller for the home and life on the move. In that way, it represents a big challenge to Apple’s iOS devices — the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It’s like a companion screen that you can use while watching TV — a role that smartphones and tablets are playing in the home.

“This is why we consider the PlayStation Vita to be a generational shift in portable devices,” Longworth said. “We still all look at these devices as having long life cycles. The hardcore customers will buy first. But with accelerated competition, the life cycles move faster. We cannot wait four years before we move from the hardcore gamer to the mainstream users.”

“We really wanted to focus on the games. We really wanted to make that it had the biggest and the best experiences possible” when it came to games, said John Koller, director of hardware marketing at Sony’s game division in the U.S, in an interview at CES. “We also wanted to make sure the social component was built into each game. Separate from that, we wanted to make apps that were relevant to gamers and really allowed them connect with their community.”

As the team was designing the PS Vita, it saw that community was important to creating bigger and better experiences for gamers. By contrast, the PlayStation Portable was really a device for individuals playing a single-person game. That’s part of why the PSP lost out to Apple’s devices.

The Twitter user interface is different from what you see on the PC. The Twitter app is written from the ground up for the Vita, with the emphasis placed on letting gamers share their exploits in games with fellow gamers or the rest of the world. You can finish a game and immediately tweet the results to your friends.

You can take photos with the camera on the PS Vita. It has a web browser for sharing and ways for you to chat with your friends. The Flickr interface looks slick and clean and it lets you post your photos automatically to the photo sharing site.

“We want you to interact with the world and the world to interact with the device,” Koller said.

Besides Flickr and Twitter, the PS Vita can also run Skype, Netflix and Facebook. On the PlayStation 3, Netflix is the most-used non-gaming application, so it could be a popular one on the Vita as well. You can use the Vita to watch high-definition movies, listen to music, and shop for online games.

“We will never have an app store like the Android Market, but we will have relevant apps that allow gamers to be social,” Koller said. “That’s very important. We don’t want 10 billion apps. We want relevant, core apps for the experience.”

Don’t be surprised if future apps allow you to view PlayStation Vita content on a big screen and do things such as replace the remote control of your TV set with the touchscreen controls on the PS Vita. For now, you can control your PS 3 console with a PS Vita, meaning that the Vita itself can serve as a wireless controller for Ps 3 game in the living room.

Sony has also added is own apps such as Near, which allows gamers to see who is nearby among their gamer friends. The Party app lets players send text messages and do voice chat in real time with their PSN friends.

OpenSky Hits 1 Million Users And More Than $1.5 Million In Monthly Sales

January 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Fab and Turntable weren’t the only pivot success stories of 2011. Another e-commerce site, OpenSky, went from struggling to successful in about nine months.

OpenSky was founded in 2009 by John Caplan as an e-commerce arm for bloggers. Influential writers could create storefronts alongside their content, but it wasn’t a fruitful business model for OpenSky.

“Last year we were dead in the water,” says Caplan. “We weren’t selling very much. When people are reading they aren’t buying things; they don’t have their credit cards in hand.”

Caplan decided to pivot his startup. OpenSky relaunched in April as a personalized shopping site.  Now e-commerce isn’t secondary to content on OpenSky; it’s king.

The new OpenSky operates like Twitter. It works with 80 industry influencers and celebrities, like Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay and Alicia Silverstone, to create lists of their favorite items.  Users can follow the influencers and buy the endorsed products.  OpenSky holds all the inventory, ships items to users, and splits the profit 50/50 with influencers. Caplan says none of OpenSky’s influencers are investors. They just really like the product.

“It’s like Twitter but our merchandisers [the celebrities who pick the items OpenSky sells] are making tens of thousands of dollars every month from their followers,” says Caplan. Martha Stewart, for example, has 83,549 followers on OpenSky just waiting to buy a recommended rolling pin or mixing bowl.

So far, OpenSky’s pivot has worked wonders. In April, its first relaunch month, OpenSky generated about $66,000 in sales. Last month it generated well over $1.5 million. “Revenue has been increasing 50% month over month,” says Caplan.

In October the 87-person startup raised $30 million. Today, Caplan told us OpenSky crossed the 1 million user mark. About 68% of users are repeat buyers, purchasing new OpenSky items within eight weeks.

We asked Caplan what his margins are like. Despite the 50/50 split, he says they’re pretty good.

“Brands are excited about OpenSky because they want to be endorsed by celebrities,” says Caplan. While brands can’t pay for distribution on OpenSky, they generate a lot of sales when celebrities decide to post their items. Caplan likens OpenSky to Pinterest.  The brands’ excitement makes it easy for OpenSky to purchase, store and sell celebrity-endorsed items at reasonable prices and margins.

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