Make the Most of the Tech Revolution!

By daring to become an early adopter.

By daring to become an early adopter. Social networking in particular is one realm into which many businesses were loath to venture a few years ago, but its appeal for marketing--especially in a sour economy--is undeniable.

For example, Twitter was launched in 2006, but Nielsen research shows that between April 2008 and April 2009, Twitter achieved a growth of 37 times more minutes spent logged on the site--higher than the growth of any other social networking site. And with over 200 million active users and an estimated value of $10 billion, Facebook has gone from what the New York Times calls a "dorm room creation" to an organization that commands the attention of business professionals all over the world. So how do you get started? If you're Pizza Hut, you hire a tech-savvy intern to help you out. They created a 'Twintern' position that will focus on social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to gauge popular opinion of the brand. Not only are these tools all free, they're widely used by individuals in Pizza Hut's target market. And since college students are fearless early adopters, their intimate knowledge of how to infiltrate and use social networks with cachet can prove far more valuable than standard marketing material. Existing companies can leverage the power and popularity of social networking by integrating it into an existing framework. MTV teamed up with Twitter for the "Alexa Chung Show," which will post a live feed of Twitter reactions to celebrity guests and other content on-screen. And apparel company Marshalls enlisted the services of cross-dressing Internet star Liam Sullivan (or Kelly, as he's known on YouTube) for a 4-minute promo video that they hope will blend in seamlessly with the YouTube community. Being an early adopter doesn't come without risks, however. Burger King found that out the hard way during their Whopper Sacrifice promotion, which encouraged Facebook users to un-friend 10 individuals on their friends list in exchange for a free Whopper from the fast food chain. It sounds like a decent publicity stunt, but a crucial portion of the publicity came from the fact that each spurned friend received a notification on Facebook that they'd been ditched for a Whopper. Facebook disabled the notifications, citing a violation of privacy standards, and the Burger King Whopper Sacrifice promotion was withdrawn as a social networking fail.

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Keep reading Show less

An ancient structure visible from space isn’t man-made

Long hidden under trees, it's utterly massive

(Roy Funch)
Surprising Science
  • This 4,000-year-old structure can be seen from space and wasn't built by humans
  • It's made up of 200 million mounds of earth
  • It's still under construction today
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

How Christians co-opted the winter solstice

Christmas has many pagan and secular traditions that early Christians incorporated into this new holiday.

Saturnalia by Antoine Callet
Culture & Religion
  • Christmas was heavily influenced by the Roman festival of Saturnalia.
  • The historical Jesus was not born on December 25th as many contemporary Christians believe.
  • Many staple Christmas traditions predated the festival and were tied into ancient pagan worship of the sun and related directly to the winter solstice.
Keep reading Show less