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Yahoo Mail, iGoogle to Become Social Networks?

Yahoo has long realized that their strength laid in their already-strong web properties: their portal and their email service. Two months ago, we reported that Yahoo Mail, still one of the top free Web-based email programs, could be leveraged as a social networking platform of some sort. Susan Decker, President of Yahoo, said in July that the service was “one of the Web’s largest dormant social networks and one that we are aggressively pursuing ways to activate.”

This week, the New York Times reports that they’ll be doing just that—and not only them, but Google, too. Google’s plans are pretty sketchy (or secret) at this point:

Nonprofits Outpace Businesses on Social Media

Charities are often more savvy than businesses when it comes to using social media – especially blogging. The Center for Marketing Research looked at the top 200 largest US charities as defined by Forbes Magazine. They found that seventy-five percent of the charities are using some form of social media.

Social media specifically refers to blogging, podcasting, using message boards, social networking, video blogging and wikis. 46% of the charities report that social media is a key part of the organizations fund raising efforts (though they do not measure success by numbers – they seem to use the tools more for branding purposes).

Social media is an effective way to increase awareness of their missions and helps them connect with their constituencies. The research did not trace how this affected donations because the organizations mainly used it to build community and foster their online presence.

Free Wall Street Journal Online Access Coming

Rupert Murdoch plans to make WSJ.com free to increase readership and generate far more in advertising. Right now the site gets 1 million viewers and Murdoch hopes to see it go to 15 million. For now a subscription just to the online edition is $79 for a year.

The site is has already added social media – or at least one element – along with RSS feeds. You can submit stories to Digg via the “Digg This” link at the bottom of each story. And you’ll be able to read the entire article, free and with advertising, when it’s linked from Digg.

Add Music and Video to your Bebo Profile

Social networking site Bebo has its own “Open Media” platform for music and video content. If you’re a member of Bebo you can create your own profile but now you can put video and your favorite music on it. Not audio files though (which someone should develop). Media companies can also create their own profiles.

When anyone says social networking profile I can’t help myself but translate that into free publicity for me and my company (or clients). I’ve been asked how I do my reputation management online, and there’s one of my secrets. It doesn’t take long to create profiles of yourself everywhere and focus on a few social networking sites that are worth a deeper time investment. Because they are time investments. But they are also ways to get links and exposure online. And the sites like Bebo get unique content. I’d think this would be especially big for small companies (local real estate agents, etc) who may not even have a web site or much competition online.

MyArtInfo – A Social Network for Artists

Every niche needs a network. With that, a Canadian publisher and philanthropist has launched a new social-networking site for artists. The name doesn’t sound like a social network – you’d think artists could be more creative. The site is called MyArtInfo and the woman who started it does have a properly artistic (or should I just say French) name, Louise MacBain.

MacBain looks like a piece of art herself. She’s dubbed an art-cult entrepreneur and runs LTB Group, She also just launched Culture & Travel magazine, among other things.

Not only for artists, the site is also for art galleries, art collectors and art enthusiasts. Artists of all types can showcase their work, exchange ideas, chat with each other online, and blog. The site is for the performing arts, film, poetry, sculpture, fashion, architecture, and design.

New Media at BlogWorld in Las Vegas

I’m here at BlogWorld in Las Vegas, Nevada. The best part of being here (besides it’s warm) is that normally blogging is solitary. But here, I’m in good company. There are laptops, bloggers, and podcasters publishing in real time, right from the show.

Andy and I are actively twittering about what is happening in real time (along with many others). It makes what we do seem practically mainstream. And judging from the biggest names in the industry, more people are listening to new media. More and more we expect commentary and conversation not monologues.

I got to meet some of my heros: our own Andy Beal, John Chow, Matt Mullenweg, and Joe Beaulaurier from PRWeb. There are many I still hope to meet.

People Search Getting Social

Wink.com says they’re the largest people search engine in the world. But to me, they look like a people meta-search engine, pulling their information from the web at large as well as from MySpace, LinkedIn and other people search engines. Now they’re expanding their site to include profiles.

For once, the connection between a product (the people search website) and a social network actually made perfect sense to me: you can “claim” your profile in search results, then add to it or modify it.

The Wink Blog features a rundown of the key benefits of the new social network and I think they put the right one first.