Category Archives: Special Commentary

Facebook Friends Startup Company, Branch.

The spinning minds at Facebook in Northern California have officially teamed up with the innovative thinkers at the rapidly growing startup known as Branch, in New York City. Branch is a social startup with a twin site called Potluck. These two sites monitor, engage, connect and ignite unique thought and conversations between users across the social-sphere. The idea of creating and, more importantly, maintaining an intellectual community of users with similar interests is an extremely powerful tool – if you know how to use it.

Facebook currently reports a total of 1.9 billion active monthly users. So where do they go from here? What service do they have planned to continue that growth into the future? Something where users can gain insightful information about their daily lives; be it health, travel, education, world news, politics and local events could be just around the corner. That is what the Branch team intends to do following Facebook’s supposed 15 million dollar ‘acqui—hire.’ Branch professionals will manage a portion of Facebook centered around developing Facebook’s conversations group, a service aimed at helping people connect based on their interests.

Pushing the envelope one more step, connectivity and topical engagements will go far beyond the best Steakhouse in SoHo or how to stay gluten free. These particular engagements could become a forum where community managers can enter the social sphere and really learn how their product or service is being taken in by the average person.

The doors have opened for “users to connect, and engage in meaningful exchanges based on interests”, according to Branch co-founder, Josh Miller. While on vacation in Japan, Josh received word that the news would be released during his trip and so he did what anyone else would do, proving exactly why he made the acquisition deal that he did… he updated his Facebook status.

Facebook Status

Our Favorite Memories of 2012

It’s that time of year again. No, not that time where we are excited to see what the 2013 Jelly of the Month Club calendar has in store for us; it’s that time when we look back and ponder our greatest memories of 2012 at Make Me Social.

Josh embraced “Race Anything to the Daytona 500” (possibly because he was in a recliner with an engine on it). Continue reading

In Praise of Pockets

When was the last time that you thought about your pocket? We have pocket protectors, pocket squares, pocket watches and pocket sized Bibles. Hot Pockets, Lean Pockets, Polly Pocket, and a pocket full of sunshine (well, at least, I’ve gotta pocket, gotta pocket full of sunshine). Your pocket is the most important part of your outfit and yet we rarely consider it when getting dressed.

The other day, while foot tapping my way across Pandora, I heard the lyric, “we are the second, you’re minutes behind.” Being the social media “geek-ling” that I am, I paused the player and sat pondering the significance of that statement in an uber-connected world. I decided that I needed to share my thoughts and instinctively reached into my pocket.

Small, discrete and infinitely useful, the pocket is the keeper of the communication equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife  – our smart phones. In order to be ahead of the curve you need to be able to send and receive information quickly, without restrictions. Back in the Dark Ages (1990’s) we would be tethered to our desks, spending hours stuffed into cold, dark cubicles, waiting for breaking news. Now, our pockets play gallant host to the mobile devices that keep us…mobile.

To adapt an old adage, “keep your mobile device close, and your sim card closer.” Without our perfectly crafted pockets, we would have to resort to alternative ways to transport our phones. Fanny packs, uncomfortable purses, phone leashes (inspired by the ever-popular “leash kids”) and rash activating Velcro body straps.

So, today, pat your pocket on the back and give thanks to the little piece of clothing that could. The almighty pocket.

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys collecting pocket lint and weaving it into elaborate sweaters. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

In Praise of Pockets

When was the last time that you thought about your pocket? We have pocket protectors, pocket squares, pocket watches and pocket sized Bibles. Hot Pockets, Lean Pockets, Polly Pocket, and a pocket full of sunshine (well, at least, I’ve gotta pocket, gotta pocket full of sunshine). Your pocket is the most important part of your outfit and yet we rarely consider it when getting dressed.

The other day, while foot tapping my way across Pandora, I heard the lyric, “we are the second, you’re minutes behind.” Being the social media “geek-ling” that I am, I paused the player and sat pondering the significance of that statement in an uber-connected world. I decided that I needed to share my thoughts and instinctively reached into my pocket.

Small, discrete and infinitely useful, the pocket is the keeper of the communication equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife  – our smart phones. In order to be ahead of the curve you need to be able to send and receive information quickly, without restrictions. Back in the Dark Ages (1990’s) we would be tethered to our desks, spending hours stuffed into cold, dark cubicles, waiting for breaking news. Now, our pockets play gallant host to the mobile devices that keep us…mobile.

To adapt an old adage, “keep your mobile device close, and your sim card closer.” Without our perfectly crafted pockets, we would have to resort to alternative ways to transport our phones. Fanny packs, uncomfortable purses, phone leashes (inspired by the ever-popular “leash kids”) and rash activating Velcro body straps.

So, today, pat your pocket on the back and give thanks to the little piece of clothing that could. The almighty pocket.

______________________________________________________________

When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys collecting pocket lint and weaving it into elaborate sweaters. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

A Special Commentary on Social Media: Watching Egypt

Gina .. Today, there has been a serious escalation of journalists and media professionals, has demonstrated thousands of journalists within the trade union of journalists, aimed at bringing down Makram Mohamed Ahmed, chairman of the Press, check out today quorum to bring down the captain of the office, have also been several demonstrations in the press institutions different, to bring down the editors, pro-Toregime and President Hosni Mubarak

Gina .. I’m fine and I hope that you may be fine .. There was a fire exchange between the protesters and supporters of President Mubarak .. I have hit a wall while fleeing from an iron fire .. But now, okay .. Events today very hot, and I expect that there will be mass protests on Friday next.

This is a first-hand, real-life account on the Egyptian revolution…as well as a young person on the scene in Egypt…as well as thoughts from a reform-minded journalist. But most of all, these are messages from my friend via Facebook.

As a follow-up to the piece on this blog last week on social media in the mainstream, I wanted to share my unique perspective on the events in Egypt because while many people throughout the world are seeing this news for the first time, I am seeing the repercussions of a generation worth of actions.

As the first country director for an American organization that worked to promote democracy and participation within Hosni Mubarak’s long-dominated government, I worked with scores of people who longed for regime change. Most of these people were in their thirties and younger. Many had never known a time when President Mubarak wasn’t “President” and all of them were active on-line and with their mobile phones.

In June of 2006, the organization I worked for released the first ever political party assessment report.   We commented publicly that there had not been significant steps toward reform in 25 years of Mubarak rule. Newspapers and blogs picked up the story, which led to me being called into the Foreign Ministry. Our activities were suspended; I was labeled a flagrant interferer and a spy; newspapers ran story after story; Mubarak-backed members of Parliament called for my arrest while members of the U.S. Congress countered by moving to slash Egyptian funding.

Through the weeks that followed as the situation escalated, I was sustained by the supportive texts and messages sent by my Egyptian staff and reformer bloggers like Sandmonkey. But, finally, a newspaper front-page headline screamed, “Eliminate the Spy” accompanied by my photo with a gun’s cross-hairs graphic over it. I left Egypt that week. I could because I was an American. My Egyptian friends could not.

And, of course, they wouldn’t want to. It’s their country and they were (and are) committed to change. So, they continued their reform movement through writings, lectures and postings until they converged on the streets just over two weeks ago.

This brings me back to social media. In many developing democracies, where the government still controlled the land-line infrastructure, the use of cell phones exploded faster than in the United States. SMS campaigns were old-hat even when I had arrived. This technology has helped bring reform-minded people together.

Looking back on my days there, if I were asked on how a revolution of this sort would happen, my hypothetical would be very similar to what we are seeing and reading about every day: Driven by the new generation of Egyptians eager for their voice to be heard, and spreading that eagerness through the  technological platform most associated with their generation, which is social media.

So, in the midst of the glaring (yet impersonal) international headlines, I look inward to my small personal community of Egyptian friends that social media has allowed me to maintain since I lived and worked in Cairo , and as the days have turned into weeks, these notes have helped feel like I have a front-row seat to history, despite being half a world away.

NOTE: This was published just prior to President Mubarak’s speech on February 10th.

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Gina London is Vice President for Strategy and Development for Make Me Social. She currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland and in 2006, was Egypt Country Director for the International Republican Institute. She is active on a number of social media channels, and a member of a number of groups including the Egyptian Association for Change.