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Will u be my Valentine...on Twitter?

Who says chivalry is dead? At least it's not on Twitter ' according to the top tweet on Boston's trending topic 'valentinesday'? on the 14th: What more could a girl ask for on Valentine's Day?! A perfect gentleman and a Big Mac ' check. It is true, social media has even changed Valentine's Day. On February 14 Valentine's Day dominated many news feeds as Twitter erupted with tweets of love as well as tweets of contempt for what many dubbed yesterday on the Twittosphere as the 'Hallmark Holiday.'? Who needs Cupid when there's Twitter? In 2008, Twitter added a new feature especially for the holiday of love ' Valentine tweets. Each time a user sent a message directed at someone (@username), and added a <3 symbol, the person hearted would be asked if they 'heart' back via a giant 'YES' button. Valentine's Day: Not just for Hallmark anymore Of course, you do not have to be Hallmark to benefit from Valentine's Day. Regardless of the diverse reactions to Valentine's Day on Twitter, many companies, such as Hershey's, Macy's and AT&T to name just a few, took advantage of the Holiday to promote their products through Twitter this year. Even Coca Cola didn't miss the chance to send out some V-day love with a sponsored top tweet. Here are just a few highlights of this year's V-day Twitter promotions: AT&T: 'Shout your love from the mountaintop.'? The campaign began Thursday and encouraged users to post declarations of love to AT&T's Facebook page. In turn, on Valentine's Day AT&T's mountain men would pick some posts to 'shout'? from the top of Mount Baldy in Southern California using HTC Inspire 4G phones. The hashtag #LoveShout was also paid for on Twitter as a promoted trend. My M&M's: Promoted personalized M&M's as a way to get a message across that may be hard to say using the M&M character Red, who has trouble showing his emotional side. Along with a variety of digital and traditional media used in the promotion, M&M used the Twitter handle MyMMscom as a way for users to share gift ideas and get discount codes for the candies. Macy's: The Sweetest Tweets Contest (Macy's first promotional contest through Twitter) prompted users to interact with the brand by tweeting love notes using the #sweetesttweets hashtag. The winner receives a three-stone diamond ring. Pizza Hut: Using the hashtag #iluvPH, users tweeted their best pick-up lines for a chance to win a free order of Pizza Hut's Hershey chocolate dunkers. Hershey's: Hershey's Valentine's Day Twitter Party. Using the #Hersheys tag on Twitter on February 3 users followed hostess @ResourcefulMom who was joined by representatives from The Hershey Company to chat about Hershey's Valentine's Day gifts and give away prizes. The grand prize being a Blu-ray player, two romantic comedies and, of course, a variety of Hershey's Valentine's treats. Hallmark (UK): Repeated last year's Twittermantic competition: By following @HallmarkUK and tweeting a romantic verse to them using the hashtag #TM for a chance to win a romantic weekend break.

Wireless Battleground Key in iPhone, Droid War

BACKGROUND Someone call a techie. I am having a technological crisis. On December 30, 2010, I will have officially had my 3G iPhone for 2 years! Surprisingly, it is in pretty good cosmetic condition. However the battery life is soon reaching its death. People told me that eventually my iPhone battery would die but I didn't want to believe it. The phone was a gift so my financial guilt about my phone battery being mortal one day was slim to none. I also thought to myself, it will take forever for this to die for good. Or will it? I must say I have loved my iPhone for many years; however recently my service has been particularly bad (little to no bars in big metro areas, dropped calls, etc).  To top it off, the day of my battery dying for good is rapidly approaching. Today, I pretty much need it plugged in 24/7 to be able to take it out for a few hours. The worst is when I am driving and my Google maps fail me. Me with no GPS = lost in the woods. It is times like this that I say to myself 'I should upgrade to the 4G.'? Since my contract is approaching 2 years, I am definitely up for the $199 (16GB) or $299 (32GB) upgrade (by signing another 2 year contract). This of course seems like the next logical answer. However, recently a little green alien caught my eye; my roommate has the Droid Incredible 3G. I will say I am attracted to its bigger screen, the weird vibrations it makes upon actions and the crazy alien-like alerts and ring tones it beeps out. I should note that these small superficial benefits may only be applicable to me so let me get a bit more into the technical components. For those of you who aren't concerned with alien noises, here is the breakdown: BREAKDOWN Similarities: Both have 1GHz Processors, Video Recording (720p), Noise cancelling, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, Multi-tasking, WebKit and Tethering Plus for Droid X: Larger Screen (5.0 X 2.6 x .4 inches versus iPhone's 4.5 X 2.3 X .37 inches), Expandable Storage via microSD (16 GB included), 4.3 Display (versus the iPhone 3.5), 8 MP camera (versus iPhone 5MP), Dual LED Flash, Noise cancelling has 3 microphones (as opposed to 2), Talk time is 8 hours (as opposed to iPhone's 7 hours), Wi-Fi Hotspot, HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) Plus for IPhone4: Lighter than the Droid (4.8 ounces versus Droid's 5.4 ounces), 16GB or 32GB on board storage (versus Droid's 8GB storage), Retina Display (640 x 960 pixels versus Droid's 480 x 854 pixels) Video Call Camera, App Store consisting of 225,000 plus apps (as opposed to Android Market with 100,000 apps) and to put it bluntly, more pleasing to the eye TESTIMONALS My roommate broke it down quite simply: She feels that major pros for her Droid are that there are multiple home screen interfaces (7 total),  a good camera and the kicker ' it's Verizon so she generally has better service. She believes the major cons are: Not as many apps as the iPhone (yet), weak battery life, occasional freezing, iPhone has the classic interface, user-friendly look.   An old colleague simply put it: 'We own both. I like iPhone as a gadget and droid as a phone. Voice search on droid is better than iPhone.'? I actually confirmed this tonight testing the word 'baseball'? into both Google voice applications.   I can't help but remember all the articles that came out when the iPhone 4 launched stating that it was dropping calls and had bad service. When this all started happening, my iPhone service got worse. However, anyone I know who has a 4G now just continues to say positive things about it. iVerizon? Unfortunately, an article on Tech Crunch yesterday is making me considering putting off the purchase of either phone right now, perhaps until 2011. Steve Cheney writes, 'Last week we saw the carriers' growth numbers for Q3 2010, and AT&T completely blew away Verizon with new subscribers. Despite mass availability of Android phones, Verizon only added 1 million subscribers in Q3, its lowest total in years. AT&T added 2.6 million'? Although there have been Verizon/iPhone rumors floating around the tech world for years, Cheney seems to think the recent announcement of the Verizon/iPad partnership signifies a much bigger and albeit (brighter than AT&T) partnership.  He is also baffled by the fact that AT&T subscribers strengthen in numbers while Verizon lags behind. Cheney avidly feels that an iPhone user on Verizon will not experience the same issues as an iPhone user on AT&T. 'If you don't believe me, this will become clear for everyone when the Verizon CDMA iPhone becomes available,'? he states. CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) is another cell phone service technology which competes against GSM (Global Systems for Mobile Communications). GSM is used by most of the world and is the more popular cell phone standard used by Sprint, Virgin Mobile and Verizon. On the flip side, GSM is used by carriers such as T-Mobile and AT&T. The big difference between the two: GMA has better global coverage. Am I willing to sacrifice CDMA capability over GSM? Will I even be able to notice as a cell phone user/consumer? Can I wait until 2011 to get a new phone? You all will be the first to know where I land. Then I will judge my new gadget for myself and either be bashing/trashing it or absolutely loving it in no time. Fingers crossed for the latter of the two.

This Week's Buzz in the Digital Space (June 7-11)

Not uncommonly, Steve Jobs initiated the loudest buzz this week. The much anticipated Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address, which took place this past Monday, presented many of Apple's incremental updates'most notably, the iPhone 4 and its associated OS. iPhone 4 Even though many audience members had already previewed the new generation iPhone (thanks to our sneaky friends at Gizmodo), the device still induced plenty of oohs and ahhs from the crowd. The most significant new software features  include: Multi-tasking, Wifi-only video calling (termed 'FaceTime'?), iMovie software, iTunes 9.2 with folder support, iBooks and the resulting ability to read PDFs. The reinvented body is also worth noting, with dimensions measuring 24% thinner than your current iPhone 3GS. Jobs also highlights the device's  Retina display which features 4x as many on-screen pixels as the previous generation'that's 78% of the pixels on your entire iPad. The iPhone 4 will be available June 24 th for $199 or $299 (for 16 and 32GB, respectively) with a two year contract. Furthermore, a limited version of the iOS4 will be provided as a free upgrade to 3GS users. iAd Apple's recent foray into the advertising world was also mentioned and promoted at the WWDC. Major brands have already begun signing up for the HTML5-based iAds, including Citi, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Geico and Best Buy, to name a few. I see a major disconnect here: on the one hand, Apple implements iAds to ensure the creation of interactive and compelling advertisements for its devices, on the other, Apple builds  Safari 5. Safari 5 is the first browser to feature a built-in ad blocker'of course, iAds being the exception. What do you think? Is Steve Jobs a friend or foe to the advertising community? AT&T The actions of Apple's service provider are also of interest. AT&T has recently capped data usage which could act as a de-motivator to app developers. (Will limiting data usage affect users' desire for innovative applications?) Also rumored, the company may be expediting upgrade eligibility for most of its current customers. Now almost everyone can have the iPhone 4 for its upgrade rate'oh yeah, and another two years of less-than-reliable service. Apple's Competition Sprint's recently released phone, the EVO 4G, is a solid competitor to the iPhone (see this graphic for feature comparison). The Android phone is part of the 4G network - a differentiator where Sprint is taking the lead against all other carriers. I think it's safe to say that 4G coverage isn't even on Apple's radar, while securing 3G coverage remains a constant struggle.

  • 3 min read
  • June 11, 2010

This Week's Buzz in the Digital Space (June 7-11)

Not uncommonly, Steve Jobs initiated the loudest buzz this week. The much anticipated Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address, which took place this past Monday, presented many of Apple's incremental updates'most notably, the iPhone 4 and its associated OS. iPhone 4 Even though many audience members had already previewed the new generation iPhone (thanks to our sneaky friends at Gizmodo), the device still induced plenty of oohs and ahhs from the crowd. The most significant new software features  include: Multi-tasking, Wifi-only video calling (termed 'FaceTime'?), iMovie software, iTunes 9.2 with folder support, iBooks and the resulting ability to read PDFs. The reinvented body is also worth noting, with dimensions measuring 24% thinner than your current iPhone 3GS. Jobs also highlights the device's  Retina display which features 4x as many on-screen pixels as the previous generation'that's 78% of the pixels on your entire iPad. The iPhone 4 will be available June 24 th for $199 or $299 (for 16 and 32GB, respectively) with a two year contract. Furthermore, a limited version of the iOS4 will be provided as a free upgrade to 3GS users. iAd Apple's recent foray into the advertising world was also mentioned and promoted at the WWDC. Major brands have already begun signing up for the HTML5-based iAds, including Citi, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Geico and Best Buy, to name a few. I see a major disconnect here: on the one hand, Apple implements iAds to ensure the creation of interactive and compelling advertisements for its devices, on the other, Apple builds  Safari 5. Safari 5 is the first browser to feature a built-in ad blocker'of course, iAds being the exception. What do you think? Is Steve Jobs a friend or foe to the advertising community? AT&T The actions of Apple's service provider are also of interest. AT&T has recently capped data usage which could act as a de-motivator to app developers. (Will limiting data usage affect users' desire for innovative applications?) Also rumored, the company may be expediting upgrade eligibility for most of its current customers. Now almost everyone can have the iPhone 4 for its upgrade rate'oh yeah, and another two years of less-than-reliable service. Apple's Competition Sprint's recently released phone, the EVO 4G, is a solid competitor to the iPhone (see this graphic for feature comparison). The Android phone is part of the 4G network - a differentiator where Sprint is taking the lead against all other carriers. I think it's safe to say that 4G coverage isn't even on Apple's radar, while securing 3G coverage remains a constant struggle.

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