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The 2000 Following Limit On Twitter

If you are new to Twitter, chances are that you still have not attained the 2000 barrier limit imposed by Twitter. Twitter has a following limit of 2000 people based on the number of followers you have. This means that you can not be following more than 2000 people unless you have the same amount of followers. This barrier exist to avoid a lot of things, among which, is spamming. It does not make sense to follow a lot of people and no one following you. This obviously is against the intent of the Twitterverse as there people who use Twitter to only send out making money online messages and while it can work, you will only end up with people not following you.

How does it work?
This limit actually works on a percentage level (10%), but only when you are almost following 2000 people. As an example, say you have 1900 followers. 10% of 1900 is 190 and adding this to 1900 you will reach a total of 2090. This means that you can not be following more than 2090. When you reach this limit, Twitter will not let you follow more people, until such a time that your followers plus 10% increases.
Let us take the example above and continue with it.
  • You have now 2090 followers. Add 10% to that and you will get 2299. You can now follow up to 2299.
  • Now you have 2299. Add 10% to that and you will get 230. You can now follow up to 2529.
  • And it goes on like this.
How do you control the 10% limit?
You may find a lot of opinions on what is the best practice on following or not, people on Twitter. I believe that it is polite to follow those who follow you, and for that matter, the other way around. Unless you are specifically interested on somebody, I believe that it is not unpolite to unfollow those who do not follow you. Obviously, there are people that may interest us in following them, regardless whether they follow us or not. Example of these people can be Barrack Obama, Guy Kawasaki, Google, CNN, DiTesco (that’s me, lol), etc. Also, you should make it a point to follow people that have the same interest as you. It is likely that you will get them to follow you, if you share the same interest. Do not follow people just for the sake of having your numbers high. For example, following someone who’s interest is in SEO Tips, and your is fishing, does not seem to be relevant. They will probably unfollow you and ultimately, this will hurt you, and your credibility. Just like anything else, Twitter or micro-blogging is about sharing knowledge, entertaining and being polite. Give your followers something of value. Telling them that you are having a cup of coffee does not seem to valuable enough, don’t you think?
So there you go, when you reach the limit on Twitter, simply unfollow those who do not follow you back and that will raise your limit again, until you reach the 10% gap.

Google Adds a ‘Share’ Button for Google+

Lost amid the hysteria over Google‘s powerful new Drive cloud-storage service was another product introduced by the Mountain View tech giant on Tuesday — a Google+ “Share” button.

The new button enables website operators to more easily encourage visitors to spread content among connections on Google’s social network. It’s the latest step in integrating the social network with content across the web. The Share button joins the already existing +1 button, which enables Google+ members to indicate that they — for lack of a better term — like a page or an article.

“When your visitors come across something interesting on your site, sometimes you want to encourage a simple endorsement (like +1),” Google+ product manager Rick Borovoy wrote in a blog post introducing the new feature. “Other times, however, you want to help visitors share with their friends, right away. Today’s new Google+ Share button lets you do just that.”

When visitors click the button, they have the option of sharing a page with specific people or Circles in their network. Like with the +1 feature, the new button switches from red font on a light background to light font on a red background after being clicked. Users can click the button multiple times, however, to share repeatedly or in different contexts with different segments of their network.

The Share button is now available globally. How do you add it to your site? Visit the Google Developers’ site to get the code here.

Mobile Advertising: 5 DIY Tips for Small Businesses

When it comes to digital advertising, small business owners (SMBs) must wade through a lot of industry jargon. Today, they have to make sense of words like SoLoMo, and tomorrow, they’ll be evaluating marketing options with terms such as InstaLikes.
The good news is that if SMBs can look beyond these buzzwords, there are a number of DIY digital advertising options that can help them get new customers and grow their businesses in the burgeoning mobile space. In fact, there are several self-serve ad platforms like Twitter that work with advertisers of all sizes. What’s common among these solutions is that they make it easy for SMBs to go mobile.

Going mobile makes sense now more than ever. According to a recent Borrell Associates Inc. survey, 48% of SMBs said they are “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to incorporate mobile into their advertising spending this year. Yet, navigating the self-service market can be tricky. Here are five tips on what to consider as you make that decision.

1. Go Local

Mobile advertising has opened up a unique opportunity for SMBs. It allows them to target by geo-location and reach people as they’re looking at what’s around them. Even better, advertisers can target customers by zip code, which is particularly useful considering that most purchases are made in the immediate vicinity of one’s home or office. So, when evaluating advertising options, small businesses should choose solutions that allow them to target customers by a location size that is most relevant to their business.

2. Think Beyond the Click

In the online world, Google AdWords has proven to be wildly successful for advertisers. Google launched AdWords so that businesses could pay only for clicks and also create, manage, and optimize campaigns themselves. While there’s no reason the mobile ad industry can’t have its own AdWords, it’s important to note that clicks don’t necessarily work in a mobile world. A recent Harris Interactive survey proved nearly half of mobile users clicked on a mobile ad by mistake, meaning nearly half of mobile advertising dollars are wasted. In other words, when advertising on mobile, SMBs should be wary of solutions that charge on a cost-per-click basis.

3. Advertise in Mobile Apps

According to Flurry data published earlier this year, time spent on mobile apps is growing, with people spending more than an hour and half per day using them. Meanwhile, they’re spending less time on the mobile web. This data shows that people are becoming more and more engaged with apps. Couple that with a projection by IDC that more than 76.9 billion apps will be downloaded by 2014, and the message is simple: when thinking mobile advertising, think mobile apps.

4. Engage People with Relevant Deals

According to another Harris Interactive survey, almost two-thirds of mobile app users prefer mobile ads that contain coupons, deals, or newsletters over commercial and video ads. So SMBs should try performance-branding solutions that engage people with deals and coupons. For the most impact, ads should also include a strong call to action and stress exclusivity.

5. Integrate Across Various Online Platforms

People use mobile devices to interact with apps, read their emails, and engage with social media sites. This means SMBs should find one tool to engage people and follow-up with activities, such as email marketing, which can help drive in-store purchases, promote online sales, and increase their social footprint.

8 Ways to Offer Better Customer Service on Facebook

Customers know that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and web-savvy customers know that Facebook is the ultimate squeak amplifier. According to Forrester Research, 27% of U.S. online consumers sought customer service support on the web in 2011, and currently three out of four expect a reply to a negative comment posted on Facebook.

Unfortunately, many brands still don’t incorporate customer service into their social strategy, despite the fact that Facebook is one of the best venues in which to turn your customers’ negative comments into brand opportunities.

Here are eight tips to help you improve your Facebook customer support initiative and, in turn, raise your brand’s reputation, decrease your inbound service requests, acquire new customers and turn infrequent customers into brand loyalists. What are your tips? Let us know in the comments below.

1. Outsource

“Your Facebook wall is not an adequate customer service platform because it is not searchable, and it puts a negative twist on your main page,” says Jeff Nolan, VP of product at Get Satisfaction. Nolan suggests that brands build an online customer service channel and then funnel the data into their current CRM system. Companies such as Get Satisfaction, Lithium, Moxie Software and Parature enable brands to offer customers a way to connect in multiple online locations, including Facebook.

With these products, companies can streamline their customer service processes and track important customer data, no matter where the customer decides to engage. As these features become more commonplace, customers will begin to instinctively seek them out when they visit a brand’s page, so be prepared.

2. Crowdsource

“Identify and develop relationships with influencers who are knowledgeable about your products,” recommends Erin Korogodsky, social strategist at Lithium. “Those superfans are likely to lend a hand when a customer stops by with a question.” Products like Lithium’s LevelUp social suite allow for the peer-to-peer customer support Korogodsky suggests. Cultivation, encouragement and rewards for “superfans” who engage such solutions provide customer service request deflection, which Korogodsky says is one of the best ways you can save money for your business.

3. Who’s the Boss?

When it comes to social support, it is not always clear who’s in charge. Your customer service reps are not Facebook experts and vice-versa — that is why the two groups must team up to provide online customers with the best support experience. Have your social media team field Facebook comments and escalate issues to the appropriate customer service representative. Many social media marketing platforms, such as Buddy Media, Context Optional and Wildfire offer moderation features that allow for customer service reps to be pinged and prompted to respond upon assignment.

4. Transparent Humans

Users have faith in the transparency of social media and look to it as a place where they can directly contact their favorite companies — and be heard. Create a brand voice that is human and approachable. Do not delete posts, but instead take the opportunity to solve your customers’ issues or complaints on your public page. Each problem is most likely a problem for another customer and if the answer is easy to find, customers will be able to answer their own inquiries. At the very least, page visitors and friends of the disgruntled customer will see your brand as attentive and solution-oriented.

5. This is Your Time

Elisabeth Diana of Facebook’ communications team suggests brands take advantage of two new Timelinefeatures: messages and pinned posts. First, users can now directly connect with a brand through brand page messages. This feature can serve as a free online customer service support system for your brand until your volume becomes unmanageable. Customers can also exchange private information with your brand, such as phone numbers and email addresses, which may help you solve their problem faster. The downside is that there will be no audience to watch you turn a negative situation into a positive one. Remember however, that this is an optional feature and can be turned off (which many large brands already have done).

In addition, “Pinned” posts allow brands to highlight certain hot topics by pinning them to the top of the wall. Diana uses TurboTax as an example of a brand that really takes advantage of this feature. As Tax Day approaches every year, TurboTax receives an influx of the same questions. So instead of posting the same answer multiple times, the company can now pin reply posts to the top of the wall, thus reducing the number of incoming inquiries.

6. Know Your Issues

As your brand continues to offer effective customer service on Facebook, you will see that the volume of requests will only increase. Take this opportunity to log some of your previously solved issues in order to be more efficient and consistent with future replies (without sounding automated, of course). You may also want to take these most common questions, requests and issues and build a FAQ Facebook tab. Again, if your customers are able to find answers easily, your workload will be lessened, as will negative sentiment on your wall.

7. Set Up Alerts

If you have very active Facebook fans and are able to use a social media marketing platform, it’s important to set up alerts for certain keywords to help filter out high priority initiatives. Single out certain terms such as “question,” “customer service” or “frustrated,” and you will receive notifications when related comments are posted. If you are a toy company currently experiencing an issue with a particular toy, set an alert for the product name. Whether the comments are positive or negative, you will be kept in the loop.

8. Accept Compliments Graciously

Your mother always taught you to say “thank you” — your brand should do the same. Don’t just respond to negative comments, reply to positive ones, too — you can encourage positivity with politeness and grace. Fans love to know that their favorite brands hear and appreciate their praise, and they will often come back to leave positive comments in the future. These positive comments help shift the overall sentiment of your wall, improve brand reputation and increase Facebook virality … so remember to say “thank you.”

5 User-Friendly Tools for Building Your Online Portfolio

Social Media Money

In today’s digital world, your job search has to be as much online as it is on paper. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can help you establish your personal employment brand and connect with potential employers — in fact, almost 90% of employers are using social media to recruit potential employees [PDF]. What better way to have all of your online and offline job search tools in one place than in a portfolio?

An online portfolio allows you to compile what makes you employable — it should include things like your resume, cover letter, references, certifications, transcripts and any examples of your work (including writing samples, press clips, artwork or lesson plans). Plus, you should include basic contact information, such as a phone number and email, and more modern information, like a Twitter handle, LinkedIn profile, or Facebook URL. Put all of this into one online package that’s easy to browse and voilĂ  — you have an online portfolio!

Here are five great options that can host your online portfolio. There’s a breakdown of each one, so you can pick which one works best for you and your career goals.

1. WorkSimple

Summary: WorkSimple is the first work portfolio that helps you manage your career and performance inside your organization. Users have endorsements, followers, goals and accomplishments, which can help you build your professional and social reputations. Set your professional focus, add your goals, and get recognition for your work.

Additionally, WorkSimple allows users to brand themselves by sharing goals and contributions with co-workers in real-time. Essentially, it’s a Facebook Timeline for professionals.

Best Feature: WorkSimple encourages you to set career focus and add “Social Goals” that support your direction, which help you keep track of your accomplishments, efforts and successes as you build your reputation. Plus, you can get great feedback from co-workers.

What Needs Work: Those looking for a traditional portfolio to display resume, work samples and more may not find these features in WorkSimple.

Ideal User: A corporate worker who is tech-savvy and wants to establish goals and stay synced with co-workers. Like the other portfolio platforms, you can add images, but this portfolio is not solely image-based.

Cost: Free for an individual plan but pricing plans exist for team or company plans.

2. Behance

Summary: Behance is a platform for creative professionals to gain exposure and manage their careers. Users can create multimedia portfolios that showcase their work to millions of visitors.

Best Feature: Behance turns your work into an online gallery; It claims to get 15 times the traffic of all other leading portfolio sites combined (including Carbonmade, the next site on our list). Recruiters can find and track talent and post jobs for the creative professionals on the site.

What Needs Work: In order to have your own personal portfolio website, rather than just a profile on Behance, you need to join ProSite. This costs $11 a month, but it allows you to create a full website without coding, and it syncs with your Behance portfolio.

Ideal User: Any creative professional wishing to showcase multimedia projects — images, text, audio or video. The layout of the site is better for viewing visual projects, so anyone from graphic designers to photographers to industrial designers can benefit.

Cost: Free for a Behance profile, $11 a month for the ProSite.

3. Carbonmade

Summary: Carbonmade is an online portfolio platform that helps users show off their work — especially creative work like design, illustration and art.

Best Feature: Carbonmade makes portfolios easy. Users can create a profile in a snap, and the service offers tons of ways to personalize your portfolio. Plus, users can establish their own URL — for example,

What Needs Work: The site isn’t conducive to any text, audio or video work — a still image is best for this portfolio.

Ideal User: Again, this portfolio service is primarily for creative professionals. In comparison to Behance, Carbonmade seems even more geared toward visual art. Any professional who can share an image of their work — fashion designers, illustrators, architects and more — would find Carbonmade useful.

Cost: Free

4. Pinterest

Summary: Pinterest is basically an online pin-board. It’s primarily a social photo-sharing website where users can create separate boards for various things. For example, you could have a board for recipes, pictures of places you’d like to travel or, in this case, your professional creative work.

Best Feature: Pinterest is far more social than Behance or Carbonmade, so you can have eyes from all parts of the globe on your work. Plus, you can “pin” any image, and when users click on a pinned image, they’re redirected to the original website. For example, if you “pinned” a piece of your artwork from, say, your personal blog, you can attract more traffic to your blog.

What Needs Work: The platform was not made to be a professional portfolio site. Therefore, the site may have a different audience of viewers than an actual portfolio platform. Plus, like Carbonmade, text or audio works cannot be “pinned.”

Ideal User: Pinterest only allows photos or videos (which will be “pinned” as a still picture), so creative professionals with image-based work will find this site most useful. Any professional with visual work that can be put into image form can display their portfolio on Pinterest.

Cost: Free, but you do need to request an invite.

5. Dribbble

Summary: Dribbble is a “show and tell” for designers, where users can share small screenshots of their work.

Best Feature: The platform shows off your work with screenshots of your progress or completed project. Plus, it’s easy to browse other people’s work by tags or color.

What Needs Work: Dribbble isn’t useful for anyone with non-visual works; it’s really only conducive to visuals.

Ideal User: Anyone who creates visual work that can be shared via an image, especially graphic or web designers, illustrators and logo designers.

Cost: Free


All online portfolio platforms have their pros and cons, and different sites work better for varying types of professionals in myriad industries. There are many portfolio services to explore aside from the ones mentioned above, but what all of these sites have in common is that they allow professionals to display their work online and continue to build their personal brand.

Do you have an online portfolio? What service do you use? Let us know in the comments.

Ways to Market Your Brand With Location-Based Networks

Between the rise in location-based social networks, like Foursquare, and the mobile market’s meteoric growth, a new marketing avenue has opened up. Location-based marketing is a nascent frontier, and marketers are clamoring to take advantage of it.
Already, about 30% of smartphone owners access social networks via their mobile browser, and that figure will continue to grow, according to an infographic by Microsoft Tag. So, if your marketing plans include location-based networks, below are five ways to get started.

1. Push Notification Integration

One of the big reasons people don’t use location-based apps like Foursquare or SCVNGR is simply because they forget. Integrating push notifications into a location-based app is a great and simple fix.
Marketers often use these notifications to highlight activity, specials, announcements, and to further promote the app as well as the business. Allowing users to alter these notifications is an important way to give your audience some power. That ensures your messaging makes it to their phone without being a burden.

2. Loyalty Programs

Giving rewards to loyal customers for continuing to check in via a location-based networks is a great option. Arby’s marketing team did this on Foursquare by offering special reserved seating to their Foursquare mayors at 30 restaurants and 50% off on purchases. Ideas like these drive competition and increase use, which leads to greater exposure for the business being marketed on these networks.

3. Geofencing

Geofencing has been around for some time, but it’s increasingly becoming incorporated in more location-based networks. For those who aren’t familiar, geofencing is a virtual boundary set around a location, like a store. One way marketers are using geofencing on location-based networks is by sending messages to users who’ve opted in to a particular service.
Lets use Starbucks as an example. If a person crosses a Starbucks geofence, they will receive a message from their location-based app highlighting an offer, coupon, or just a reminder to stop by. This is similar to the idea of a push notification, except it’s only triggered by a person who comes into a geofence around a specific location. This messaging is more relevant to a user and more effective for a company.

4. Mixed Media

Apps like GetGlue and Foursquare both give you the ability to check in and incorporate other media. For instance, GetGlue allows a user to check in and share a favorite book, song or TV show. Optimize your content and forge partnerships with companies like GetGlue as a way to extend your reach among users that are more likely to view your content if recommended by their friends.

5. Better Content

As the king of the location-based space, Foursquare helps set the tone for innovation in this industry. Recently at South by Southwest, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley spoke about the future of location-based apps and how the company’s focus is shifting from checking in to other features that their audience uses more and that will help the company become more mainstream.
For instance, Foursquare’s “explore” feature is fairly new and allows a user to discover food, nightlife, shops, and more based on broad categories. It aggregates suggestions based on your checkin history as well as information available on the network about a location. This is why any content you add to Foursquare and similar sites should be optimized.

5 Tips for Creating and Maintaining Customer Loyalty

Selling cloud and software-as-a-service applications is all about driving usage, adoption, and customer success—not about selling. This is obviously true for onboarding new customers, who start with a free trial and will only pay you if they like what they see. It is even more true for existing customers, who will only renew their subscription if they love what you do for them. Below are five tips on how to generate and maintain maximum customer love, in either situation.

1. Make Customers Love Your Product

Customers will love your product if they get the following from it.

  • Tremendous Value: Is your application delivering on its promise? For example, if your app is built for project management, are users successfully creating projects, inviting colleagues, and increasing productivity via efficient collaboration? Also, do you have a workflow in place to increase the success of lagging customers? This approach allows you to improve your product based on what you learn.
    • Enjoyment: Just getting the job done is not enough. Your product should be a delight to use. Invest in usability and product design and make your product truly intuitive. How do you know you are doing a good job at this? There’s a good chance your customers are on Twitter, recommending the product to colleagues.
      • Great Support: Build wizards to walk your customer through how to successfully use your app. If there is a bug, reach out with a solution. Help could be a phone call, e-mail, or a link to a piece of educational content.

      2. A Customer Success Team

      Assign one executive on your team to be responsible for customer success. This person’s function should be to help customers realize the value they subscribed for. The success manager will also guide every new customer through a series of training steps. After the initial 90-day onboarding period, the success manager will monitor for any signs of customer unhappiness to determine if a customer needs more attention. The entire customer success team should also be responsible for renewals and expansion sales.

      In a subscription economy, customer success is key to your growth. Successful customers stay longer, increasing your revenue.

      3. Create a Customer Health Score

      Invest in technology that tracks customer health. Start with a simple survey tool like survey monkey It will help you determine what your Net Promoter Score is on a quarterly basis. You can obtain a Net Promoter Score by asking customers how likely is it that they would recommend your company to a friend or colleague, on a scale of 1-10? The percentage of Detractors (0-6 rating) is then subtracted from the percentage of Promoters (9-10 rating) to obtain a Net Promoter Score.

      Even better, track customer health in real time by analyzing customer usage of your application. It turns out that almost all cancellations are preceded by a period of no use. You can create in-house scripts to track how engaged customers are with your application, and segment customers by their engagement score.

      To help customers succeed, you need to find out who’s doing well and who’s struggling to get value from your application. The only way to do that systematically is to define a consistent health benchmark for your paying customers, then track each account to see who needs help. Here are some example benchmarks:

      • Good Health: Successfully using the application
      • Average Health: Using the application, but not at the level of a successful customer
      • Poor Health: Not using the application; unsuccessful

      What defines a healthy customer depends on your service, but be sure to define, track, and monitor it on an ongoing basis

      4. Nurture Your Paying Customers

      Lifecycle marketing is the discipline of marketing to your existing customers, based on the status of the relationship. There are two important lessons here. One, don’t stop selling once customers sign up for the paid service. Two, don’t treat all customers equally. That means you should communicate very differently with a customer in poor health than with a customer in good health.

      For example, send customer success stories to the customer who isn’t actively using your software. Perhaps call and check in with those high-value customers who started off using your software but then disappeared. Or consider asking active users to participate in customer case studies and referral programs.

      5. Learn From Churn

      When customers are cancelling or not renewing their subscription with you, they churn. So, what will you learn from every customer that leaves you? You won’t. Unless you have data. This is why you should consider creating a churn database. This would be a place where you store information about cancelled customers. It should contain the following:

      • Reason: Why did the customer leave?
      • Membership Length: How long were they customers before cancelling?
      • Engagement Trends: How engaged were they throughout their subscription?

      See if you can identify and mitigate trends. Your goal should be to improve the experience for current and future customers. Customer success should be a pillar of your business. Happy customers help generate new leads and business. Unsatisfied ones create PR nightmares. In our connected world, customer success is your most important marketing asset.

What to Do When A Potential Employer Asks for Your Facebook Password

Could you imagine a job interview during which your interviewer asks you for your Facebook? Well folks,it's Happening and you should know what to do when it happens to you.
The reason why companies are doing this is to get better insight into who you really are. They will strategically ask you to look at Facebook with them — right there, on the spot. You would think there would be some type of HR regulation in place to prohibit this type of conduct during an interview, but currently there is not — although the state of Maryland is starting to take action in a case regarding the Facebook profiles of student athletes.
With that in mind, what about job applicants in all the other states? Maryland is the first to do anything about this (and it’s currently concerned with student protections), so how long will it take for the job applicant process to be evaluated? Will asking for social networking account passwords be prohibited? The answer is, “There is no answer.” But you do not have to give the information as a condition of employment.
Let’s go over some things you can do to protect yourself on a job interview. Don’t forget: You have the right to a personal life and your privacy!

              1. Put it Eloquently

If you are asked for your password, here are some things you can say, in an eloquent and respectful manner, to show you will stand your ground:

  • “I am very careful with my personal, private online persona and do not feel comfortable giving out any passwords. But you can feel free to look at my profile as it appears to you as a company right now, if you would like.”                    
  • “I would never participate in social media on the organization’s time and ask that the organization will respect my personal social media rights outside of work.”     
  • “My LinkedIn network is a great place for you to review my professional experience and see the professional connections that I have that may be of benefit to your organization.”
  • “Is that something that is required to move forward with this job interview?”

If you don’t like the prospective employer’s answer to the last question (or any of the statements above), you can decide if you would not like to move forward with the interview. It is your profile and your privacy, and you have the right to protect it. So, take control and make it your decision.

      2. Evaluate the Situation

      You may feel obligated to provide your password, but is it really worth it to you to have a job where you will be watched all the time?
      The answer is probably “no.” It would be extremely stressful to feel like your personal life has the potential to be picked apart by your employers at any time. It will already be enough that they will monitor you while at work in other ways.

      3. Take Steps to Protect Your Personal Life

      If you plan carefully and strategically, you can separate business and pleasure. Set up your social media profiles to be only obtainable or known by your friends and family. Here are some things you can do:
      • Disable a public web search on your Facebook profile. The default setting allows search engines like Google to pick up your Facebook profile.
      • Change your name and go by a nickname that only your friends and family would recognize.
      • Take advantage of the new Facebook Timeline to illustrate the personal brand you want to project as a job seeker.
      Once you have a job, you should be careful not to jeopardize it by putting ill-willed comments up for all to see. What you say could get you fired if it sheds a bad light on your company. You represent your company, so keep your personal social networking about you and not about work.
      Now you know it is okay to take a stand and say “no” when asked for your social networking passwords. It is ultimately up to you to decide what you are comfortable with.
      What would you do if your interviewer asked for your password? Let us know in the comments.

      Social Media Job Listings

      Every week we post a list of social media and web job opportunities.. While we publish a huge range of job listings, we’ve selected some of the top social media job opportunities from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!

‘Angry Birds Space’ Downloaded 10M Times in 3 Days

Angry Birds SpaceRovio’s Angry Birds Space has had a solid takeoff with 10 million downloads since its release on Thursday, according to the company.

The company, which disclosed the figure in its Twitter feed Monday morning, didn’t say how the release compares with previous title launches. However, according to reports, Rovio’s last major Angry Birds release, Angry Birds Rio, hit 10 million downloads in 10 days, more than three times as long.

The latest game was released for various formats, including for the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android devices, as well as the Mac and PC. The company didn’t release a Windows Phone version, though it plans to, according to Rovio CEO Mikael Hed.

The new version brings several important changes, most importantly gravity, which will allow players to use nearby planets to perform trick shots on unsuspecting pigs.

The game has 60 levels, with more content available through in-app purchases (only in the iOS version for now). The game includes hidden goodies and secret levels, and Rovio promises regular free updates for the future.

You can get the iPhone version here. The iPad version is available here, and the Android version is available over at Google Play.

Finally, the Mac version is available in the Mac App Store, while the PC version is available

Free Facebook Banner downloads site list

12 Free Facebook Timeline Download Cover Photo, Banner, and Template Websites

  1. – customize your own Facebook Timeline cover photo. The site requires Facebook log in, choose your personal options, upload to Facebook and add/change cover.
  2. create a customize cover with their Facebook Cover Creator. Edit your cover, choose your options, create a photo collage (select up to 24 friends to make a collage Timeline cover out of and apply effects like Polaroid and Panorama.
  3. is one of the best websites I’ve come across for downloading Facebook covers and creating your own. Just click on the “make a cover” link under the Cover Makers to start making a cool cover now. You can create your cover onsite using their easy Facebook Timeline cover creator by uploading an image, adding and editing with text decorations. You can use the following Facebook personal cover ideas: collage, quote, Polaroid, scrapbook, heart, kissing booth, original, name and advanced cover makers. You can also download from over 50 select categories and get thousands of Facebook Timeline cover photo pictures. There is a cover of the day and an excellent FAQ section where you can learn how to add, and swap out covers, edit and delete them.
  4. makes it easy to find, share and upload your Facebook cover. Has a short fbcoverpix introduction to using the cover maker. The fbcoverpix uses the Facebook Connect technology so you don’t need to download any software or run any programs. Just log into your Facebook account and you can start creating covers right away.
  5. of Facebook covers to choose with cover categories including lyrics, broken hearts, emo, for guys and TV shows.
  6. there are 100′s of Facebook Timeline covers here to use. Just log into your Facebook account and download and add them to yours.
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By The Numbers: Larry Page’s First Year as Google’s CEO

Google has historically been paranoid about any numbers it publicly releases. For many years even after it was publicly traded, the management triumvirate including Larry Page had to personally approve any numbers the company issued to the public, a policy I believe still stands.

So it’s worth pointing out all the figures the company has decided to share in a letter to investors that caps off Page’s first year at CEO:

30: The number of products Google has shut down this year, including Knol and Sidewiki.

120: The number of Google+ integrations, which unsurprisingly mostly involve Google products.

100 million: The number of active Google+ users. Is this a sign of health? Or that Page is out of touch with reality and perhaps should be using a different engagement metric? Discuss.

850,000: Android devices activated per day. (It’s an old number from Mobile World Congress in February.)

55: The number of Android manufacturing partners.

300: The number of Android carrier partners.

200 million: The number of Chrome users. (Also an old number.)

350 million: Number of Gmail users.

5,000: The number of enterprise and educational customers that sign up for Gmail every day.

800 million: The number of monthly YouTube users.

$2.5 billion: The run-rate for the mobile advertising business in the third quarter of 2011.

2.5x: Growth over mobile advertising revenue in the same time period two years earlier.

$30 billion: Amount that Google has cumulatively paid out to content publishers on the web through the AdSense program.

64: Number of languages supported in Google Translate.

4,032: Language pairs supported by Google Translate.

200,000: The number of miles Google’s self-driven cars have driven.

Google’s Search for Clean Energy

Google once brashly believed its engineers could invent a solution to the world’s energy problems. These days, the company has a new strategy: finance less risky clean-energy projects where it can actually make an impact.

Last year, Google invested more than ever in renewable power, spending $880 million to underwrite conventional clean energy projects such as solar panels on California rooftops. But that isn’t the role Google envisioned for itself in 2007 when co-founder and current CEO Larry Page declared the search company would get into energy research directly to “rapidly” invent cheap ways to generate “renewable electricity at globally significant scale.”

Google believed its creativity and innovation would make the difference. It created an in-house plan for how to wean the United States off fossil fuel in 22 years. It posted jobs for engineers who could speed-up design of renewable energy projects, and put a team to work improving the heliostat, a mirrored device that focuses the sun’s rays to make thermal energy. Its philanthropy arm,, began investing in start-ups with far out ideas.

Google’s founders were directly involved. One startup, Makani Power, originally planned to move boats using kites, but Page and co-founder Sergey Brin convinced it to pursued high-altitude flying wind turbines, instead. “They were pretty fearless. They said ‘This is a risky thing, we don’t know yet if it’s going to work out, but we think this has promise,’” says Makani CEO Corwin Hardham.

The company’s speedy ways wowed energy experts, as did its goal of producing a gigawatt of renewable electricity at prices competitive with fossil fuels. “Being at Google, it was fascinating to see how rapidly things could scale. I was enthralled by it,” says Dan Reicher, Google’s former director of climate change and energy initiatives, who left the company in 2010 to head Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance. “That struck me as a very fundamental difference—the software world measures time frames in months.” In comparison, he notes, solar panels have been available for 30 years but account for less than one percent of total U.S. electricity production.

Last November, however, Google killed the program, known as RE

The truth was Google’s eclectic bets on potentially disruptive energy innovations never got very far. Take PowerMeter, another canceled project. The software was meant to help homeowners monitor their energy use. Energy entrepreneur Kurt Brown said it had a major flaw: “Their interface was for nerds. It was something mostly a smart Googler would be intrigued by.”

The cancelled plans show the hazard of believing that success in computing—where products can take days to prototype—can carry over to energy. “The IT attitude is great when combined with humility with what is possible,” says Jonathan Koomey, an expert on the environmental effects of computing at Stanford University. “But if you think you are going to overhaul the whole energy industry overnight, just cause you did it in software, that is false, that is hubris.”

Some people involved directly with the projects said it proved challenging for Google to guide energy research either directly or through startups. “We were aiming for some home runs. I think we got some doubles,” said one senior manager who has since left Google. “It’s difficult for a company whose sole focus is not innovating in energy to drive really substantial innovation in energy systems.”

Google hasn’t given up on green energy. The company actually spends far more now than it ever did on the engineering projects. In 2011, Google disclosed $880 million in investments in renewables. That was about ten times the level it spent in 2010, and puts the search giant among the companies that spend most in the area (BP, by contrast, invested around $1.6 billion).

Unlike its earlier engineer-led work that aimed to push forward new technology, Google’s strategy now is largely focused on financing the deployment of commercial solar panels and wind turbines through so-called “tax equity” investments. Such investments, typically used by banks or large energy companies, provide a financial return as well as federal tax breaks that can be as much as 30 percent of what’s invested.

The funding also isn’t coming any longer from Google’s philanthropic arm, but from its treasury, which is sitting on $44 billion in cash. Google’s energy and sustainability director Rick Needham, is careful to balance how he explains the company’s motivations. As an investor, he says Google is looking to make money. But it also still wants to have a transformational impact on “the great American challenge” of securing carbon-free energy, as Google chairman Eric Schmidt once put it.

Google’s largest single investment to date is the $280 million it agreed provide to SolarCity, a company based in San Mateo, California that installs residential solar arrays. Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s CEO, says the money is important because his customers only pay small monthly fees. Google’s financing – in effect a loan to the project – is what pays for the initial cost of installing the solar panels on homes.

Google still works with new energy technology. A number of outside companies pilot or test their technologies at its facilities, and Google continues to invest in some early-stage companies through Google Ventures. It also buys renewable power for its own use. At its Mountain View headquarters, Google has installed one of the world’s largest corporate solar installations and even obtained an energy-trading license from federal regulators so it could directly buy 20-year power contracts with wind farms to power its data centers.

“They tried a bunch of things. Some things worked and some things didn’t,” says Stanford’s Koomey. While being a silent partner in a residential solar panel business isn’t quite as exciting as solving the world’s problems, it’s progress. Says Koomey: “What works is the most cost effective way to deliver the end result, which is reduced emissions.”