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the notifications, citing a violation of privacy standards, and the Burger King Whopper Sacrifice promotion was withdrawn as a social networking fail.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
Keep reading Show less

Why modern men are losing their testosterone

Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?

Flickr user Tom Simpson
Sex & Relationships
  • Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
  • While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
  • The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Keep reading Show less

Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
  • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
  • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
Keep reading Show less