Who would believe that 140 characters can change the world? But, that’s exactly what TwitChange has accomplished. Twit Change is an international online charity auction that features celebrities like Eva Longoria, DD Lovato, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Jonas Brothers, Trey Songz and more.
TwitChange organized a ground-breaking auction on Twitter last week to raise money for disabled children in Haiti. Celebrities offered to follow fans on Twitter and also arrange personal meetings with the winning bidders, who made huge donations during the weeklong event.
Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria managed to raise an impressive $540,000 through TwitChange. That’s a whole lot of change through Twitter. All funds collected through this auction goes to A Home for Haiti and will be used to rebuild The Miriam Center, which cares for children suffering from autism and cerebral palsy.
The success of this event goes on to prove that there is more to Twitter than idle gossip, celebrity promotions, business marketing and casual conversations. Twitter is now a medium of social change. Twitter not just connects the common man and the celebrity – it can also bring them together for the common good. This event establishes the fact that Twitter can be effectively utilized to change the world, one little tweet at a time.
Most people use Facebook to connect with friends, to catch up with colleagues, to make new business acquaintances, to post family pictures and discuss hobbies and special interests. Businesses use Facebook to promote products. Social organizations use Facebook to promote causes. These are some of the more common uses of Facebook. But then, some of us like to push the envelope. To boldly go where many have not gone before. To explore unchartered waters. To use Facebook like it’s never been used before. So, here are a few very off-beat, creative uses of Facebook. Maybe, you’ll draw inspiration from them.
- Teach a class:
Anwarul Islam, a professor at Dhaka University uses Facebook to teach students. He regularly uploads class notes, assignments and semester marks on the social networking site. He posts links that might be useful to students. Students can also post queries which he answers through the site. The students are excited by this new mode of learning. They know their lessons are just a click away!
- Track lawless drivers:
Delhi Traffic Police uses the Facebook to track lawless drivers and aggressive rule-breakers. The police force enlists the help of digital informants who post photos of fellow drivers violating traffic laws. Right now, the site has 25,714 fans and over 3000 photos. Based on the pictures, Delhi Traffic Police have issued nearly 700 tickets, using the license plate numbers shown in the photos to track vehicle owners. Drives home the point that you really can’t escape the law, isn’t it?
- Find lost monkeys:
Symbio Wildlife Park, Australia had posted a message on its Facebook page for help in returning eight stolen endangered monkeys. It even posted photos of the monkeys on its Facebook page. This means getting down to serious monkey business on Facebook. It’s also a cool way to track stolen endangered species.
- Travel and write a book:
Wondering if you had read this one right? Indeed, you have! Inspired by the movie, The Motorcycle Diaries, a young married couple, Devapriya Roy and Saurav Jha have embarked on an 80-day journey across India on a shoe-string budget, while penning their experiences into a ‘dynamic book in motion.’ This one’s called the Heat and Dust project. The coolest part is they are using Facebook to get ideas, tips and suggestions on paths to take across this vast country!
- Stage a walk-out:
18-year-old Michelle Ryan Lauto, a Pace University student who once attended high school in New Jersey decided to take action against the $820 million cut in educational funding for next year. He organized a State Wide School Walk Out through Facebook. Over 10000 students RSVP’d ‘Yes’ via Facebook. Now, that’s a smart way to stage a huge walk out, right?
- Taunt the police:
Surprised to read this? But that’s exactly what Craig ‘Lazie’ Lynch did. He was an escaped convict who set up a Facebook profile and taunted the police on his whereabouts with photo updates. He managed to garner 1200 Facebook friends. However, he is now back in jail having been caught early this year. He still has a few Facebook groups dedicated to him. Quite the hero, Craig!
I’m sure you have also come across several off-beat uses of Facebook. Feel free to share it with us.
Reference: Telegraph India
This scenario may never happen again. Thanks to Facebook’s new application, Facebook Places. It’s a location sharing service that allows users to check-in their current location and also tag their friends and discover new hotspots around town. Right now, this service is available in the United States only.
To use Facebook Places service, you will have to download Facebook’s latest iPhone application or login to touch.facebook.com on a HTML 5-enabled mobile browser. This location service is a direct competition to the likes of popular services like Foursquare, Loopt and Google Latitude.
It’s a really easy-to-use application where you just have to Tap Places, find your location and share it with your friends. Then, you may add information such as why you are there, what you are doing now and so on. You can also spot the coolest hang-outs, the finest restaurants in town, by following your friends’ whereabouts.
You can also Tag Friends With You, meaning, you can add the list of friends hanging out with you in that particular location. You can also identify the location of your friends through Facebook Places and connect with them. You can easily find friends who are there at the exact same location as you and meet them in real-time. In short, you’ll never miss out on meeting a friend when you’re on Facebook Places. How cool is that?
Then again, this is Facebook and privacy was, is and will always been an issue here. So, internet gurus are worried about the hazards of divulging your exact location on Facebook. Is that a smart move? Are there any safety issues attached to this service? Before you begin to speculate, there’s good news. This time around, Facebook has taken privacy very seriously. It has introduced a series of measures to give users the power to decide how much they want to share with Facebook Places.
First of all, you can totally deactivate Facebook Places if you feel this service isn’t right for you. You can also turn of the Friends Can Check Me Into Places button and you’re friends will not be able to tag you. But, you can still continue to use Facebook Places to disclose information that you choose to share. Also, only your friends can see when you visit or are tagged at a place, unless you have specifically set your master privacy control to “Everyone.” There are several other privacy settings in place that can give users complete control over what they choose to share through Facebook Places and whom they choose to share them with.
Facebook Places is new and exciting. It opens up a world of possibilities. But, whether you want the world (by that, I mean, your friends, family and boss!) to know where you are 24/7, and whether anybody really cares is quite another matter.
Be prepared to face the wrath of bloggers and social networkers, if you say something that’s politically incorrect on Facebook. That’s the message that cosmetic major Vaseline seems to be getting these days. The company’s ‘Transform your face’ application to promote its skin-lightening cream has earned negative criticism across the online world. The campaign, promoted by Bollywood star, Shahid Kapoor, allows users to upload their picture, clear the dark spots and whiten the face. This has indeed attracted wide spread criticism as the promotion endorses fairer skin over the darker shade.
Though the campaign primarily targets the South Asian market, bloggers from across the world talked about being ‘uncomfortable’ with this Facebook application. In all ‘fair’ness, we may say, that it’s after all, a promotion for a skin-lightening cream. Nevertheless, companies must keep in mind that social media promotions address large audience demography from across all parts of the world. What seems perfectly normal in one country may be entirely offensive in another culture.
Its true many Indians are obsessed with fair skin and this is a smart promotional strategy is a safe bet with them as is the Shahid Kapoor ad. That’s why the Indian skin-lightening market is worth USD 500 million a year. But globally, racial overtures are considered offensive and that is the reason this Facebook application is not seen in a good light.
Unilever, Vaseline’s parent company has defended the application saying it was “created for the Indian market as a culturally relevant and engaging way for Indian men to interact with this product.” But, keeping the sentiments of the global community in mind would help in garnering a more favorable response from Facebook’s globally-tuned audience.
Twitter has made a foray into the business side of micro-blogging and has announced @earlybird Exclusive Offers, which will put forth deals on products and events that will appear on the @earlybird Twitter account. Everyone is welcome to follow that account to get access to some exciting deals. All deals are time-sensitive and up for grabs by the entire twitter population.
Deals can be on any product ranging from diapers to jewelry to iPods. In Twitter’s official blog, the company stressed that it would be selective about which deals were offered and “try and make these deals interesting and of value to you.”
Already several companies like Dell and Hivelocity are successfully using Twitter to promote offers, discounts and schemes. Twitter, itself, has now borrowed from the model and started its own e-commerce venture. The retailers will determine the price of the items and twitter will earn money from the sales.
This really is a twist in the twitter success trail. Twitter with 75 million users is every marketer’s ultimate playing field. And with enough visibility, @earlybird will soon feature an enviable number of followers, all looking to bag a cool deal. It will surely attract advertisers and marketers by the drove. It won’t be surprising if Twitter’s @earlybird becomes the next big thing in online shopping. After all, who doesn’t like a good deal?