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July 2, 2009

Friday Recap: Happy Birthday USA Edition

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Good Friday to you! Okay, it’s not really Friday, but for us lucky ones tomorrow is a holiday. No work means no post on Friday, so you’re getting your recap early. Break out the barbecue and beach towels, and then enjoy this slightly random slice of Internet-romping, weekend-welcoming bliss.

Tomorrow morning most of us will have a chance to skip the alarm and sleep in. I’ll admit I’m a little bugged by my buzzing alarm clock at six in the morning, but what if noise wasn’t the only thing buggy about your clock? What if your clock actually ate bugs?! One prototype traps insects and then uses their chemically ravaged remains to keep itself ticking. Great, we’ve given machines a taste for flesh. This can’t possibly go wrong.

In the search engine optimization industry, client communication can be the source of relationships gone wrong. SEO Todd Friesen writes about his tips for effective client communication, including how to handle bad news and how to deal with your mistakes.

How do you think Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg delivered the news to his shareholders that Twitter was a threat to be reckoned with? Maybe he didn’t. Maybe he just said, “Oh Twitter? Don’t you worry about Twitter. We’ll just roll public microblogging into Facebook and, voila!” Yes, Facebook is looking more like Twitter these days. Meanwhile, Bing looks more like Twitter, too. Searching for some famous people’s names will bring up Twitter accounts. [You know what’s innovative? Being a Me Too kinda company. –Susan]

Not to turn this into the Twitter channel, but I should probably mention that Twitter changed their user interface this week. When you check out your list of followers, you can see that things look a little different. I appreciate that I can see some of a person’s bio and their last tweet because it helps the vetting process go faster. Will this change — or any change, for that matter — squelch the fears of those who haven’t yet joined the social media parade? Understandably, social media is a little creepy, you know? Like punk music.

In the video above, a comparison is made between the birth and evolution of punk music and the birth and evolution of social media. It ends with a call to action for corporate executives to get over their fear of the new medium and to listen and engage online. For some actionable recommendations on using social media for enterprise businesses, check out Mashable’s how-to guide.

Remember a few years back (whoa, maybe it’s more like 13 years back) when Independence Day was synonymous with Will Smith and aliens? Now that was a summer blockbuster that packed a punch. Some of that power can be traced back to the awesome visual effects — specifically the explosions! If you’re in the mood to blow up more than fireworks this weekend, check out Hollywood’s best sci-fi explosions.

A number of search engines would love to shake things up online, and Wired has wrangled up a number of cool search engines that aren’t Google. Most of these engines are working to fill a niche, and are handy tools in their respective specialties. The specialty of McDonald’s former CMO is breathing new life into brands, and he shares his six rules for brand revitalization over at AdAge.

In light of the media frenzy following Michael Jackson’s passing, it’s becoming clear that the standards of journalism are changing. On-the-record attribution is no longer required to break a story, and breaking news is as likely to come from a regular citizen as from the mainstream media. So what does it take to be a citizen journalist? It really doesn’t take much more than a camera, an Internet connection and good timing. YouTube Reporters Center has been launched to support citizen reporters everywhere.

fireworks in Texas

Just remember, the news business is a delicate, delicate flower that the evil Internet threatens to destroy with its dirty links and blatant disregard for copyright. For shame, Internet!

Before we call it a day, there are happy birthday wishes that need sending. It’s the 125th anniversary of the Swiss Army Knife, the 30th anniversary of portable music (via the Walkman) and, now that July’s here, we can start celebrating the 25th year of me! [You make me feel so old. –Susan] But Susan, really good things just get better with age!

Things I learned from Boing Boing this week:

  • In an effort to prevent bribes at a Kathmandu airport, authorities have banned pockets from employee uniforms. Way to get to the root of the problem. [Makes sense. Can’t take the money if you have nowhere to put the money. –Susan]
  • A new species of bat has been discovered in Africa, and it’s only as big as a moth! Bitty baby bats!
  • One disappearing waterfall in Minnesota remains a mystery. I vote black hole.
  • If it’s not robots or zombies taking over, it’s probably cats.
  • Gotta love this video montage of moonwalk-inspiring dance masters.

Happy Independence Day!

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