Twitter Adds Image Upload Option to Tweets

I’ve always been a fan of Twitter, even before Twitter became popular. It seems as though I’ve been on Twitter forever, just call me an early adopter. It looks like we are finally getting a much-needed upgrade to the Twitter web interface, which is really just a new small option. You can now add images to your Tweets, right from the web interface.

Take a look at the screen capture above. You can now click on the little camera icon on the left side of the Tweet box and upload an image. Then, when you tweet, your tweet will include an image link to the photo or screen capture that you have uploaded. It’s hosted on pic.twitter.com for you.

When your tweet is posted, here is what it looks like:

As you can see, I went ahead and used that image as an example, and actually tweeted about it on Twitter to see exactly what it looks like.

When you use an image in your tweet, I do have a few recommendations:
- Make sure that the image isn’t too small, as people do like to see larger photos rather than thumbnails. I personally like to resize my photos or screen captures anywhere between 300 width and about 1000 width max.
- I have not checked on the file size yet, but I would imagine that your photo from your 14 megapixel camera is probably going to be too large to tweet. You might want to resize it first. Besides, it may just take too long to upload it.
- When you add a tweet, keep in mind that a link to the photo URL is going to be added automatically to your Tweet. So, you may want to keep the text in your Tweet a bit shorter than usual.

As I mentioned above, it appears that the photo is being hosted on http://pic.twitter.com. However, if you mouseover the URL and watch the actual link and where you’re taken, it goes to http://t.co and then to your actual Tweet, with the larger image. It just doesn’t make sense that Twitter would add a URL that’s then a redirect that then redirects back to twitter.com. That’s too many redirects!

Take a look at what happens when you go to your pic.twitter.com image URL:

Parameters:
URL = http://pic.twitter.com/JSDYArO
UAG = Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:5.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/5.0
AEN =
REQ = GET ; VER = 1.1 ; FMT = AUTO
Sending request:

GET /JSDYArO HTTP/1.1
Host: pic.twitter.com
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:5.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/5.0
Connection: close

• Finding host IP address…
• Host IP address = 199.59.148.12
• Finding TCP protocol…
• Binding to local socket…
• Connecting to host…
• Sending request…
• Waiting for response…
Receiving Header:
HTTP/1.1·301·Moved·Permanently
Date:·Tue,·09·Aug·2011·20:40:58·GMT
Server:·hi
Location:·http://twitter.com/bhartzer/status/101026516720304128/photo/1
Cache-Control:·private,max-age=300
Expires:·Tue,·09·Aug·2011·20:45:58·GMT
Content-Length:·0
Connection:·close
Content-Type:·text/html;·charset=UTF-8

At least they’re using a 301 Permanent Redirect to do the redirect over to your Twitter status URL.

On a sidenote, it does not look like any images or photos are being indexed on http://pic.twitter.com (yet) in Google’s search engine.

Google Stops Indexing Google+ Posts

Update August 4, 2011 If you have been reading and following this blog post, you may be interested in what I’ve uncovered. Although something appears to be posted from within Google+, it’s actually coming from Google Buzz, and that has a Google+ Plus URL. So, I am pretty convinced at this point that Google+ posts are not being indexed, only Google+ Profiles. Google Buzz posts are getting indexed, and they show up with a Google+ URL, so it’s confusing. But I am going back to my original theory here, that Google has stopped indexing Google+ posts.

Posting directly to Google Buzz, the post will get indexed within seconds on the Google search results. And it currently shows as if it’s posted to your Google+ account, but it’s not.

However, if you post something directly within Google+ at http://plus.google.com/ then that post will be posted on your Google+ profile page. So, if you want something to show up in Google’s real-time search, currently you need to post it to Google Buzz, and not to Google+.

I’m sure this may change in the future, but currently only posts from Google Buzz are getting indexed in the Google search results within seconds. If you post something on Google Buzz, it will then be posted to Google’s real-time search results. Posting to Google+ will NOT get it indexed in Google’s real-time search results, and I am “pretty sure” at this point that Google+ posts are not getting indexed.

Update August 3, 2011 I previously posted (original post shown below) that all of the Google+ Plus posts were not getting indexed. Google has, in fact, changed the title tags of posts recently, thus changing one of the ways that they can be found in Google’s search results. The following search will show them in the search results:

site:plus.google.com inurl:posts

At this time, it still appears that there are only about 100 Google+ Plus posts being indexed every hour or so. A hat tip goes out to Greg Boggs for pointing out some of the recent changes and keeping me updated.

Google Plus logo
So far, I have to admit that I am a pretty big fan of Google+, the new social network by Google. I’ve posted quit a bit about various Google+ features, posted a Google+ review, and even written about how to get your Google+ posts to show up well in the Google search results. But unfortunately that appears to have been stopped, by Google themselves. For some reason, without any sort of public notice, Google has stopped indexing Google+ Plus posts.

Take a look at the screen capture above and you will see what I mean. Google+ Plus posts that are marked as “Public” have traditionally been indexed in Google’s search results if they met certain criteria. It has been my observation that Google+ Plus public posts were treated as any other web page, whereas a page has to have enough unique content on it or be important enough to get indexed.

But Google, for whatever reason, has quietly decided to stop indexing their Google+ Plus posts, with no posts being indexed within the past week. I had previously observed that Google was indexing about 200 to 300 posts an hour, but that has now stopped. There are, by the way, still about 22,000 Google+ Plus posts indexed in Google. I am surprised that those posts have remained in the Google search engine index.

I did take a look at Google’s robots.txt file for Google+Plus, which is located here on their site. I’m curious to know why they would want to disallow indexing of the directory that they’re disallowing–which is an underscore. It appears that there is no content there in that directory, so why disallow it from indexing?

So, why would Google choose to stop indexing posts? After all, it is unique content that is being posted directly on Google’s own website. Why not take advantage of all that content? The posts were marked as “Public”, so I see no reason why they would want to stop indexing them.

My only speculation at this point is that Google may be getting ready to bring back the “real time” search results, as previously they had access to the Twitter firehose of Tweets, and were displaying them in real time in the search results. Once they open Google+ Plus to the public and more people continue to embrace Google+ as a social networking site, they may start indexing Google+ Plus posts. But for now, we’re left with only being able to use Google to search Google+ Plus profiles.

Don’t forget to add me on Google+.

Read What I’ve Written About Google+
How to Create a Google+ Page For Your Business
How to Get Your Google+ Posts Indexed in Google
Google Buys Illegal +.com Domain Name
Google Stops Indexing Google+ Posts
World’s Largest Googe+1 Button
Why You Should Use Google+
How to Remove Circle Counts on Google+
How to Promote Your Personal Brand on Google+
Are Google+ and +1 Changing Web Marketing?
How to Increase Your Followers on Google+

How to Promote Your Personal Brand on Google+ Plus

Marketing on Google+ can be a very rewarding, and cost effective venture for those with a limited marketing budget since Google+ is currently a very popular site amongst tech savvy people, such as myself. However, caution must be exercised so that your marketing efforts do not meet with a less than happy end. Here is how to market your personal brand on Google+ Plus.

To start off with, Google+ frowns upon using a name other than a person’s name for your Google+ page (this action may even get your account suspended which in turn may affect other Google products associated with your Gmail address). Therefore, the best businesses to market on Google+ are those where YOU are the product, or you are branding yourself as the lead of the business. Here are some businesses that would do well with marketing on Google+:

– Consultants
– Realtors
– Doctors
– Lawyers
– Dentists
– Authors
– Publishers
– Gurus / Experts
– Businesses Where YOU Are The Product Or Brand

Essentially, any business where you are branding yourself, or ones where you want people to think about your business whenever they see you would be just right. It should also be noted that Google+ works extremely well for those who wish to market themselves as an expert in a field (such as internet marketing, construction, health and fitness, etc.). With Google+ being a social network, it would only be logical that you talk about or discuss your business on your profile page. As long as your marketing efforts appear to be a natural extension of what you would do in real life everything should work out just fine. For an excellent example of “marketing without the appearance of marketing” check out Chris Pirillo’s Google+ profile page. There are many topics that could be covered when talking about marketing on Google+. In order to avoid information overload, this blog post will focus on using pictures in your profile, and in your photo gallery.

Whenever someone checks out your profile picture on your Google+ profile page, there should be two things they should be able to get from looking at it – what kind of image you project in real life, and how you want to position yourself, and your business in society. In regards to image, you want your picture to convey the kind of person people would meet when they stop by to visit you at your business. For example, lets imagine that we have three different consultants: a marketing consultant, an internet marketing consultant, and an investment advisor. For the marketing consultant, the picture that they would use should show that the consultant is sincere about their business without appearing too serious or dogmatic. However, since a marketing consultant has to work to stay on the cutting edge of the marketing industry, the profile picture should also reflect a spirit of innovation. In order to show an innovative side, the consultant could hold up an unusual marketing product that people would want to know more about. The overall look would be something that catches the eye without going overboard.

The internet marketing consultant, on the other hand, would take a slightly different approach in regards to choosing their profile picture. The overall message their profile picture needs to convey would be “I can help you make your business a huge success on the internet”. An unusual background image might work well, or a thought provoking background setting showing where a potential client could end up if they followed the advice of the internet marketing consultant. Some profile pictue ideas for the internet marketing consultant would be: the consultant shown sitting in a lawn chair on the beach at a lavish resort, or behind the wheel of an expensive automobile, or perhaps standing on the patio of an exquisite mansion, and so forth.

For the investment advisor, the picture should convey trust. The words on the profile page will help to describe what the consultant can do for their clients, but the picture, at a glance, should instill a feeling of honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness without being boring. The profile picture is definitely important, but what is also almost equally important are the pictures in your photo gallery.

Even though you’ll mostly be using your Google+ profile to promote your business, you will still need pictures in your photo gallery to help give people a REASON to visit your profile (unless they already know you). With Google+ you can choose which pictures are displayed at the top of your profile, which will be helpful in giving you something that people can make comments on. In regards to what type of pictures to use in your photo gallery, let’s look back at our three fictious examples. For the marketing consultant, it would probably be best to use pictures of ads that the marketing consultant either created, or ads that have been very successful regardless of who put them together. In the description, the marketing consultant can describe what makes that particular ad effective or not effective, or perhaps a funny caption or annecdote.

The internet marketing consultant would want to add some interesting and / or funny pictures to their Google+ photo gallery, but this would also be a great time to put in some useful diagrams. For instance, a chart explaining the latest evolution of the online marketing sales funnel which shows how consumers use the internet to research, and ultimately choose which businesses they do business with would be a great picture to add to the internet marketing consultant’s photo gallery.

The investment consultant could put up charts, and graphs to show where the stock market will be within the next 10 years, return rates for basic investments, or even a simple graph showing how much money someone could have made if they had made a $10,000 investment at 20, 30, or 60 years old. Also, since the investment consultant is wanting to convey a feeling of trust, integrity, and stability, it might be wise to put up a few family photos as well. Professionally done group family photos tend to create an aura of stability – even if that is not actually true in real life.

Once the pictures have been uploaded to the Google+ photo gallery, you can start posting links to your pictures as status updates using headings to make it all look natural. For example, using the “$10,000 investment over time” picture as an example, a link to the picture could be posted in the investment consultant’s status bar with a headline that reads “If only people realized how much money they could have saved up if they started saving earlier…”. Also, creating status updates will make it much easier for others to know what kind of content you have available on your profile, and hopefully entice them to make comments on your pictures. The comments made by those people will be available for viewing by the people in their circles, who will also make comments. All of these comments will eventually lead to driving more traffic to your profile. As illustrated in the above scenario, a very strong domino effect can easily be created by simply posting pictures, and making mentions of those pictures in your status updates.

You can also post links to pictures from other websites in your status box to accomplish the same thing. They do not have to be pictures directly related to what you do. If you can find something thought provoking or controversial, that will work as well. Just be sure it is something that you wouldn’t mind being associated with (remember: Google+ may be a social network, but its still a social network run by Google – the world’s largest search engine at the present time).

The general idea with pictures on your profile is that they should get your point across without having to spend a lot of time explaining them, even on the pictures that are in your gallery. People should be able to understand why you have that picture there with or without the short summary. With that being said, controversial pictures should be mainly used to draw attention to your profile, and therefore should just be picture links shared in your status updates. Use other less provocative pictures within your photo gallery to build and support your branding. This, of course, does not apply to you if the business image that you want to project is a controversial one. Either way, use your photo gallery to house pictures that directly reflect your business. Remember: the cute puppy in the window gets the people into your store, but what actual things your store has to offer should be the main topic of conversation.

If done right, you can drive tons of highly targeted traffic to your profile with just a few simple pictures, and status updates. Just keep in mind – a picture is worth a thousand words, so make sure that the pictures that you choose to utilize in your marketing efforts say the right things about you, and your business.

Disclaimer: Please note: If your Google+ account is suspended for ANY reason, it may adversely affect your other Google related products (ex: your corresponding Youtube account could also get suspended).

Don’t forget to add me on Google+.

Read What I’ve Written About Google+
How to Create a Google+ Page For Your Business
How to Get Your Google+ Posts Indexed in Google
Google Buys Illegal +.com Domain Name
Google Stops Indexing Google+ Posts
World’s Largest Googe+1 Button
Why You Should Use Google+
How to Remove Circle Counts on Google+
How to Promote Your Personal Brand on Google+
Are Google+ and +1 Changing Web Marketing?
How to Increase Your Followers on Google+

How to Remove Circle Counts in Google+ Plus

google plus logo

Google recently launched Google Plus, Google’s competitor to Facebook. Just like in Facebook and on Twitter, you can follow other people. In Facebook, we have Facebook Friends. On Twitter, you have friends and followers. On Google+ Plus, you can add someone to your Circle. On your profile (you can see my profile at http://gplus.to/bhartzer), you can see how many people that person has in their circle and how many people have added them to their circle. In other words, you can see how many people are following someone (or added them to their circle) and see how popular that person is.

There has been some backlash recently over this, and some of the more popular users have decided to stop showing the number of people they have in their circle and the number of people that have them in their circle. I personally don’t have a problem showing how many people I’m following and how many people have me in their circle (or who specifically is following me).

On Twitter, however, the follow counts and follower counts have been like a game, with many people trying to get more followers than others. The media even made a big deal over who was the first person to get over 1,000,000 followers on Twitter. Now several people and several corporations have over 1,000,000 followers. It’s not a big deal.

In Google Plus, there is a pretty new option: you can stop people from seeing your follow counts publicly. You can specifically decide if you want to show who you have in your Circle and who has added you to their Circle. If you are interested in doing this, here is how you remove the circle counts in Google+ Plus.

First, you need to go to your profile. My profile is located at http://gplus.to/bhartzer

Once you are at your profile, follow these steps:

1. Click on Edit Profile.

2. On the left side, you will see “In Bill’s Circles” (where Bill is your name).

3. Click on the little World Globe symbol to edit.

4. You will see the popup above.

If you want to show people in all circles, then select the checkbox. You might only want to show certain counts in certain circles.

If you want to show people who have added you to circles, then select the checkbox. Otherwise, if you want to stop all of the circle counts from showing publicly, then uncheck both boxes.

So, it’s really up to you. I have to be honest, and tell you that I personally prefer to show all of the numbers. I think that’s really the best policy, to be as completely transparent as possible.

Don’t forget to add me on Google+.

Read What I’ve Written About Google+
How to Create a Google+ Page For Your Business
How to Get Your Google+ Posts Indexed in Google
Google Buys Illegal +.com Domain Name
Google Stops Indexing Google+ Posts
World’s Largest Googe+1 Button
Why You Should Use Google+
How to Remove Circle Counts on Google+
How to Promote Your Personal Brand on Google+
Are Google+ and +1 Changing Web Marketing?
How to Increase Your Followers on Google+

SortPrice Unveils Store Application 2.0 Built on Facebook Platform

Already an established and trusted leader in helping retailers effectively expand their reach to Facebook Platform, comparison search engine SortPrice.com has rolled out an updated version of its Store Application for Facebook that adds even more features to a tool that is already used by more than 1,500 merchants nationwide.

SortPrice was one of the first companies to offer e-commerce solutions on Facebook. SortPrice launched the Merchant Application in October 2008 and have since built Facebook stores for more than 1,500 retailers of every size and scope. Along the way, the application has received numerous glowing reviews in the media, putting SortPrice squarely on the leading edge of the social media integration movement taking place in the e-commerce industry.

Version 2.0 builds on that success and offers retailers even more customization options designed to help them build a Facebook presence that is more consistent with their existing websites, along with some new features that spur interaction and fan-building on Facebook.

SortPrice’s Store Application 2.0 takes all of the great features that have helped it become one of the industry’s most popular and successful ‘F-commerce’ resources and adds a host of new customization options that can take a retailer’s Facebook presence to a whole new level. What’s more, since the application is still a free add-on for any retailer that lists products on SortPrice.com, it’s also the most cost-effective resource out there.

“At this point, selling on Facebook has evolved from an option to a must for any retailer that’s serious about the success of their business,” said Asaf Klibansky, SortPrice.com co-founder and CTO. “Version 2.0 reflects that shift in priorities and gives a retailer even more ways to build a comprehensive, interactive Facebook store that will not just increase traffic and interaction but deliver actual sales as well.”

The host of customization choices that SortPrice added to Version 2.0 is designed to help retailers build a Facebook presence that is more consistent with their existing websites. These enhancements, all accessible through the application’s merchant management console, give a merchant the ability to:

• Add customized banners, colors and splash pages to their storefronts;
• Tailor the layout of the actual store, either by moving particular components such as popular products or recently viewed products or enabling/disabling those same components however they wish;
• Customize product categories so they match up with those on their retail site;
• Include personalized footers in the form of links, banners, certifications, contact information or simple text to the bottom of the application

Also new to the application is a feature that allows merchants to list two products from their Facebook store side-by-side and solicit feedback from their followers on which one they prefer or would rather buy, bringing all the fun of traditional comparison shopping right to a merchant’s Facebook Page. The application now also features a dedicated section where retailers can spotlight their most popular products, which is ideal for special sales and promotions.

Version 2.0 also coincides with Facebook’s recent coding change from FBML to IFrames, which makes the site’s Like buttons more universal than ever. Along with faster page loads and a smoother overall experience, merchants will be able to see just how many Likes they’re getting on both their Facebook store and their website as well, making it easier to track how people are interacting with their listings and products.

Since introducing the original Merchant Application in October 2008, SortPrice.com has built Facebook stores for more than 1500 national retailers of every and those merchants collectively posted more than $3.78 billion worth of merchandise on their Facebook stores in 2010. For a full list of SortPrice’s retail partners and more information on Version 2.0, please contact us.

SortPrice.com, founded in 2004, has grown into one of the internet’s most popular shopping search engines. With advanced search technology and a simple interface, the site features millions of products from thousands of merchants nationwide.

Google Settles with FTC over Deceptive Privacy Practices Related to Google Buzz Social Network

Google today has officially agreed to settle charges by the United States Federal Trade Commission that Google used “deceptive tactics” and “violated its own privacy promises to consumers” when Google launched their social network called Google Buzz, in 2010.

The Federal Trade Commission alleges that the practices Google employed violated the FTC Act. The proposed settlement bars Google from “future privacy misrepresentations, requires it to implement a comprehensive privacy program, and calls for regular, independent privacy audits for the next 20 years.”

According to the FTC, this is the “first time an FTC settlement order has required a company to implement a comprehensive privacy program to protect the privacy of consumers’ information. In addition, this is the first time the FTC has alleged violations of the substantive privacy requirements of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework, which provides a method for U.S. companies to transfer personal data lawfully from the European Union to the United States.”

Here is more information from the FTC that explains what Google did:

According to the FTC complaint, Google launched its Buzz social network through its Gmail web-based email product. Although Google led Gmail users to believe that they could choose whether or not they wanted to join the network, the options for declining or leaving the social network were ineffective. For users who joined the Buzz network, the controls for limiting the sharing of their personal information were confusing and difficult to find, the agency alleged.

On the day Buzz was launched, Gmail users got a message announcing the new service and were given two options: “Sweet! Check out Buzz,” and “Nah, go to my inbox.” However, the FTC complaint alleged that some Gmail users who clicked on “Nah…” were nonetheless enrolled in certain features of the Google Buzz social network. For those Gmail users who clicked on “Sweet!,” the FTC alleges that they were not adequately informed that the identity of individuals they emailed most frequently would be made public by default. Google also offered a “Turn Off Buzz” option that did not fully remove the user from the social network.

In response to the Buzz launch, Google received thousands of complaints from consumers who were concerned about public disclosure of their email contacts which included, in some cases, ex-spouses, patients, students, employers, or competitors. According to the FTC complaint, Google made certain changes to the Buzz product in response to those complaints.

When Google launched Buzz, its privacy policy stated that “When you sign up for a particular service that requires registration, we ask you to provide personal information. If we use this information in a manner different than the purpose for which it was collected, then we will ask for your consent prior to such use.” The FTC complaint charges that Google violated its privacy policies by using information provided for Gmail for another purpose – social networking – without obtaining consumers’ permission in advance.

The agency also alleges that by offering options like “Nah, go to my inbox,” and “Turn Off Buzz,” Google misrepresented that consumers who clicked on these options would not be enrolled in Buzz. In fact, they were enrolled in certain features of Buzz.

The complaint further alleges that a screen that asked consumers enrolling in Buzz, “How do you want to appear to others?” indicated that consumers could exercise control over what personal information would be made public. The FTC charged that Google failed to disclose adequately that consumers’ frequent email contacts would become public by default.

Finally, the agency alleges that Google misrepresented that it was treating personal information from the European Union in accordance with the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor privacy framework. The framework is a voluntary program administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce in consultation with the European Commission. To participate, a company must self-certify annually to the Department of Commerce that it complies with a defined set of privacy principles. The complaint alleges that Google’s assertion that it adhered to the Safe Harbor principles was false because the company failed to give consumers notice and choice before using their information for a purpose different from that for which it was collected.

Google Hotpot Review: Rate Places and Get Recommendations

Finding reviews of different places can be very helpful for people in general. Especially when its something new that they are trying out for the first time, such as a restaurant, or a mechanic. You can easily search Google to find reviews for different places, but the results are not always useful for your situation. For example, if you were to search for “italian restaurant reviews new york” you may find some really in-depth restaurant reviews for several places in New York that are too far away from you to be practical. Google Hotpot is a website that is specifically tied to Google that allows you to search for ratings of places in your local area saving you lots of time, and energy.

Google created Google Hotpot, because some of the programmers and developers at Google noticed that over 20% of the searches conducted on Google have a local intent. While that doesn’t seem like much, when you have millions of searches on your search engine being conducted on a daily basis, 20% is a rather large number. Ratings can be made on Google maps, an Android phone, or the Google Hotpot tool. Most people have already seen the ratings on Google Maps, but have never known how they got there (well, now you know).

After you sign into your Google account, you can go to http://www.google.com/hotpot/ to set up your Hotpot account, complete with a nickname, and photo (if you wish). This product actually walks you through how to set up your account which makes the site much more useful. Once you’re in, you can start searching. You best bet is to type in what you are looking for along with the zip code of your area (ex: takeout 74813 ; zoo 90216, etc.). From there you will be shown some recommendations for that area. If you see a place that you have already been to, you can give it a rating, and share some information about your experience. As you use the site, the algorithm adapts, and you get new recommendations depending on ratings that you’ve given to various places. You can also bring in your friends by clicking on the Friends tab to send them an email inviting them to join you on Google Hotpot.

Whether or not this will be a game changer is highly questionable since Google is getting into the rating places arena so late (sites like Yelp already have a very strong system in place for getting people to use their site to rate locations). Also, in order to use Google Hotpot, you have to login with your Google account info, and then go through the setup process for your Hotpot account in order to just browse the site. With most other review sites you can just jump right in. Yelp, for example, gave me general search results for my area without having to type in a zip code to start. Plus, the different categories, and download link for the Yelp app are all shown towards the top of the site so I didn’t have to scroll down to find anything.

With that being said, since Google Hotpot is directly tied to other Google products, such as Google Maps, it could easily be used to help you rank higher in the Google search results IF you have a brick and mortar business. Also, as a side note, it would be very wise to claim your spot on Google Places, because if Google Hotpot does take off, those who are already set up on Google Places will be the ones to benefit the most from the start. Another way to easily boost your standings in Google Maps is by having people give you a good review on Google Hotpot which can lead to your business listing being displayed higher up for searches involving reviews.

Overall, Google Hotpot has potential, but just how much potential is rather difficult to determine at this point. It will greatly depend on how agressively Google Hotpot is marketed, along with whether or not Google makes the Hotpot website much more readily accessible (i.e. ditch the login when browsing the site).

Foursquare Review: Why You Should Check In

When I’m traveling around town, sometimes I like to stop in a coffee shop, and get something to drink, or stop over at a local restaurant for a bite to eat. I don’t mind eating alone, but it would be great to meet up with some friends from time to time. That’s easier said than done.

It’s rather time consuming to send a text message to various friends asking if they are close by or not. Plus, you have to figure out which ones may possibly be in the area. It would be so much easier if there was one site that I could let people know where I am. Having just one place to check in at would make meeting up with friends so much easier. Well, that’s the basic premise behind Foursquare.

Foursquare is a social networking website that works off the location of its users. Keeping up with the whereabouts of your friends has never been easier than with Foursquare. After logging into a Foursquare account, people can check-in at different venues either from a computer, laptop, or mobile device. They are then awarded points that can be used towards things on Foursquare, or possibly towards discounts at that venue (ex. 10% off a Starbucks coffee after 2 check ins). You can even earn badges giving you bragging rights for that venue. Plus, if you check in to a place more than anyone else during a 60 day period, you can be crowned the “Mayor” of that venue. While bragging rights are nice, oftentimes the Mayor gets even deeper discounts than the norm, and sometimes really cool free stuff just for participating. There are even apps for the iPhone, and other smart phone devices to access the Foursquare website while on the go.

Foursquare has great potential as a way for businesses to better connect with their customers and client base. Not to mention, its a great way for people to find friends to meet up with at various restaurants and hang outs. If you wish, you can even post your check-ins on Facebook, and Twitter, but that’s entirely up to you, and is NOT a requirement.

Overall, Foursquare is definitely a game changer for the social media landscape. I’m not sure how far all of it will go, but you can definitely bet that companies that take full advantage of the potential of Foursquare will come out on top in the social media arena.

New Social Network Called Koowie Launched

Do we really need another social network? Perhaps. A new social network website called Koowie has been launched.

Koowie takes a completely various approach to social networking. Unlike other social network sites, Koowie connects individuals based on a person’s ideas or interests via a effective and quick search engine. Koowie permits all members to publish, search, browse, study, and remark on any of the discussions. What separates Koowie from other social web sites is that Koowie is engineered not just for fantastic social connections like conversations but for people to post ideas on social commerce, like selling, buying and servicing. Koowie is designed to become a repository of information for not just ideas but for goods and services as well.

Perhaps this new social network is so new that no one knows about it yet, but I took a look at a search for “Dallas Cowboys” and saw that the most recent posts were over a month ago.

Some of the interesting features of Koowie are the power to categorize and add a place to any post, capability to ship a dialogue thread to a non Koowie member, enhance search engine, and also the capability to attach hyperlinks, photos, and embed movies to a discussion.

Even though Koowie is new, I highly recommend that you reserve your member ID there as soon as possible, as you never know if Koowie will become the next Twitter: and hindsight is 20/20: reserve the ID now and you won’t have to worry about trying to get it later. Especially if that member ID includes keyword that might help search engine rankings or is related to your brand.

ReSearch.ly Social Search Platform Launched

This blog post has recently been updated.

PeopleBrowsr, the Social Search engine and analytics company, has launched ReSearch.ly, a product for online marketers, brand managers and social media experts to get real-time analytics and conversations from the social web. ReSearch.ly provides demographic data, sentiment analysis, real-time and historic mentions and viral analytics for any keyword.

ReSearch.ly identifies people who are talking about a particular interest, and then instantly drills down to uncover rich data about that Interest Graph, including location, sentiment, gender as well as related word clouds, hashtags, links, @names, etc.

From their press release today, here is some more info about ReSearch.ly:

ReSearch.ly fires off 40 simultaneous searches for any topic and gives brand managers the ability to target specific demographic segments (i.e. women in the San Francisco area) with unprecedented granularity and ease.

Degrees of Separation
Similar to the way LinkedIn shows how people are connected through their professional network, ReSearch.ly shows how Twitter users are connected. This information is critical for brands who rely on the trust of their network when making connections.

Real-time trending and sentiment charts
ReSearch.ly provides up-to-the-second charts depicting mentions count, sentiment for any keyword and how a keyword relates to a tweet going back 30 days.

Viral Analytics Integration

Any keyword search in ReSearch.ly can be instantly translated into a comprehensive analytics platform on the fly. Brand managers can visualize how popular messages moved through the network and identify influencers for their brand and market in real-time.

With communities growing around ideas or interests, rather than through social connections, engagement is emphasized on finding and generating content and putting it in context. As PeopleBrowsr’s Brian Solis, explains, “Brands understand they need to engage customers often while cultivating communities, and they are constantly looking for ways to efficiently participate in relevant conversations.”