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February 22, 2010
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Today's Buzz 
 
  • Tyranny 2.0
    Social technology isn't guaranteed to be a force for good in the world, writes Evgeny Morozov. Social tools can be harnessed to spread disinformation and discord just as easily as they can be used to promote democracy, Morozov argues, citing Iran's state-run e-mail service and Saudi Arabia's online incarnation of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. "Facebook and Twitter empower all groups -- not just the pro-Western groups that we like," he adds. "Authoritarian governments ... [a]re already using the Internet to fight the challenges posed by modernity." The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (2/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Ideas in Action 
 
  • Google executive: Buzz won't kill Twitter or Facebook
    Google Buzz is intended to complement, not kill off, rival services such as Facebook and Twitter, says Bradley Horowitz, Google's vice president for product management. Google plans to make Buzz the most open social-media service on the market, Horowitz says, providing a hub from which users can access and update all their networks. "This is creating a new category of communication," Horowitz says. "Philosophically we want this to be open in every way, both in and out," he adds. eWeek.com (2/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How the U.S. used Saddam Hussein's social network against him
    U.S. soldiers captured Saddam Hussein by reconstructing his social network, writes Chris Wilson in the first of a five-part series on the subject. Formal organizational charts became redundant the moment Saddam's regime collapsed, so to catch the deposed Iraqi leader, troops began to piece together a Facebook-style chart of the informal networks and alliances upon which Hussein relied. Slate (2/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Twitpay turns Twitter into a donation engine
    Twitpay allows Twitter users to make charitable donations. The system is being promoted as a low-cost, fast-turnover payment system for nonprofit groups, but it could eventually be expanded to cover a greater array of payments. "The service combines the simplicity of mobile giving with the power of social networking," says Twitpay co-founder Michael Ivey. Portfolio.com (2/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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The Takeaway 
 
  • How to get your social graph up to speed
    Social graph optimization -- a set of strategies for maximizing the buzz surrounding your brand -- is an essential social-media discipline, writes Rob Birgfeld. Tap into tools such as Meebo and Wibiya to encourage users to share your content, and use re-tweet buttons and on-site Twitter feeds to keep the conversation flowing, he recommends. "Optimizing social media is not about finding new ways to DM people on Twitter, it's about leveraging your audience to help them spread your message for you," he writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Social Media (2/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 5 tools that make Twitter easier to manage
    Twitter users need better tools if they're going to use the network efficiently, writes Lee Odden. Applications such as PeopleBrowsr and HootSuite act as hubs, letting you control and monitor multiple Twitter accounts, in an efficient, centralized manner, he notes. "Whatever time you dedicate each day for Twitter -- whether its hours or minutes a day -- there's a tool available to help you better manage activities," Odden writes. Social Media Today (2/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How to gain members for life
    When someone joins your online community, you've got a three-week window to draw them in, writes Richard Millington. Most people abandon online communities within a few days of joining -- but if you can find ways to keep visitors engaged and involved every day for the first three weeks, Millington argues, there's a strong chance they'll become permanent members of your community. "It's really hard work, but the reward is a member for life," he adds. FeverBee.com (2/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Top five news stories selected by SmartBrief on Social Media readers in the past week.

  • Results based on number of times each story was clicked by readers.
SmartQuote 
Networks ... are generally good for those inside the network, but the external effects of social capital are by no means always positive."
--Robert Putnam, political scientist, as quoted by The Wall Street Journal
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 Andy Sernovitz, Editor at Large
Andy Sernovitz is author of "Word of Mouth Marketing" and the word of mouth marketing blog/newsletter "Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That." Andy is CEO of GasPedal, a company that teaches word of mouth and hosts the Word of Mouth Marketing Supergenius conference.
 

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