And Now for the Good News: Communities Band Together to Save Local Shops

Ready for another Groupon horror story?

Amy Kunkle owns Food for All Market, a specialty grocer in Philadelphia that sells food items for the very allergic. As you can imagine, it’s not the biggest store in town, it has a small, but loyal client base and up until recently, made enough to pay the bills.

Then Groupon called and convinced Ms. Kunkle that she could increase her business by offering a $15 for $30 worth of merchandise coupon. Of that amount, she would get $7.50, Groupon would get $7.50 and she’d eat the rest in the name of marketing.

What wasn’t agreed upon was a cap. Groupon sold 450 coupons and Food for All Market went belly up. In an interview with a local newspaper, Ms. Kunkle estimates that she lost nearly $10,000 on the deal.

Snickers Tweets Itself into Trouble in the UK

Social media seems like such a simple and innocent thing. Write something funny. Post it. People enjoy it, share it and it’s good advertising.

Turns out social media is actually a minefield of hidden dangers. One wrong move and it blows up in your face.

This week’s mine sweeper is Mars Candy, specifically the Snickers bar in the UK. It began with a strange series of Tweets from Maxim model Katie Price. It’s Tweeter so remember to read from the bottom up.

Who knew Miss Price had such an interest in international finance? Apparently, no one because fans soon started question whether the celeb’s Twitter had been hacked?

Soon after, another set of Tweets:

‘Tweets Still Must Flow’. . .Except When Twitter Stops Them

Free speech is one of those topics that always sends people in a tizzy. Most would agree that censorship is a bad thing, but at the same time, it’s not right to yell “fire” in a crowded theater. Unless, of course, the theater really is on fire.

This idea is tricky enough when you’re talking about books and speeches and what people say on TV. Social media, makes it even trickier. Take Twitter. It’s a public forum where people can feel free to say whatever they want — to a point. Twitter doesn’t allow excessive spam or threats and they don’t allow you to print the contact information for your ex-girlfriend. Common sense stuff.

Social Sign-Ons Help Marketers Discover the Real You

Xander: “Sure he says he’s a high school student, but I can say I’m a high school student.”

Buffy: “You are.”

Xander: “Okay, but I can also say that I’m an elderly Dutch woman. Get me? I mean, who’s to say I’m not if I’m in the elderly Dutch chat room?”

Xander makes a good point. The one cool and also creepy thing about communicating over the internet, is you can be anyone you want to be; a high school student, an elderly Dutch woman or Snow White.

People create alternate personas in order to be better than who they are or to fit in with the crowd on a particular site. People also hide their real identity to prevent embarrassment or for a more nefarious reason. They also do it to stop websites from using their data.

Internet Usage on Smartphones Continues to Climb

If you watch the commercials on TV, it’s easy to believe that the entire population of the Earth is walking around with a smartphone in their pocket. Not true, but that day is slowly approaching.

Google conducted a study of cell phone users in the US, the UK, France, Germany and Japan and found that globally, smartphones are on the rise. The UK had the highest concentration with 45%, up 15% from the first half of 2011.

The US is looking at 38% and Japan is the lowest with only 17%.

On the other hand, Japan has the highest percentage of daily internet usage on the smartphone. Germany had the biggest increase in usage from the first part of the year to the later.


Google+ Lowers Their Age Requirement to Allow Young Teens

Google+ has just lowered their minimum age requirement from 18 to 13. Young teens everywhere couldn’t care less.

Google VP Bradley Horowitz makes a great pitch though. . . .

Teens and young adults are the most active Internet users on the planet. And surprise, surprise: they’re also human beings who enjoy spending time with friends and family. Put these two things together and it’s clear that teens will increasingly connect online. Unfortunately, online sharing is still second-rate for this age group.

Oh, snap! Did he just call Facebook “second-rate?” So he didn’t mention them by name, but come on. . .

The Social Media Super Bowl

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Super Bowl will be the biggest, one-day, social media event of the year.

Last year, during the final minutes of the game, fans posted 4,064 Tweets per second. This broke the sporting record which had been held by the World Cup, but it didn’t break the all-time record of 6,939 TPS. That happened the moment Japan welcomed in the new year.

Still, I believe that this year’s Super Bowl will trump all because the powers that be have a plan. Of course they have an official Twitter and Facebook and plenty of supporting accounts on both. They have a website full of bells and whistles and mobile apps so you can keep up with all the game info while on the go.