It's official, folks - Twitter is popular. Very popular. As in, the microblogging service recorded its 20 billionth tweet over the weekend when "GGGGGGo_Lets_Go," a graphic designer in Tokyo who works at an advertising agency, posted the milestone message.
"It looks like I posted the 20 billionth tweet. I'm getting replies from people all over the world. It's scary. What are the chances? Maybe Im' going to die. Is it more amazing than winning the lottery? I thought it was a joke," he said in a followup Twitter message.
If you need any proof that Twitter is growing at an incredible rate, consider that the 10 billionth tweet was posted not even five months ago, which itself was four years in the making.
At last count, Twitter was growing by an average of 300,000 new users every day.
It was just in 2006 when the US Congress approved a ban on internet gambling, but reports indicate the legislature is mulling the possibility of legalizing it again. The move in 2006 forced many online casinos out of business as US customers found they were unable to buy in. Many felt that online gambling was too tempting, and trapped people into losing large sums of money too easily.
As usual, this change would probably be aimed at increasing revenue. The bill passed through a committee this week would direct the government to license and collect taxes from online casinos. The bill would allow states to continue with a ban if they choose. This brings up the larger issue of the ever-expanding availability of the Internet. If people have access to a gambling online, or even on their phone, would more people get themselves in trouble?
If you ask us, there are plenty of other things people can spend too much money on around the Internet. Why single this out? Gambling doesn't seem more dangerous than other possible activities. How much control should the government exert over online business?
Things aren't looking so hot for MySpace, the once dominant social networking site that has since taken a distant backseat to Facebook. According to comScore, MySpace's traffic declined 49 percent in the course of a year, dropping from 6.5 million visitors in May 2009 to a mere 3.3 million in May 2010.
Adding insult to injury, Facebook is in a celebratory mood after having recently reached 500 million registered users. That's 400 million more than MySpace claimed at its peak, and despite a recent revamp of the site, it doesn't appear as though MySpace is going to be able to turn things around.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. paid $580 million for MySpace back in 2005, and in the past six months alone has lost two chief executives.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has a message for all the social networking haters out there: Facebook is doing just fine without your support, thank you very much. He didn't actually say that, nor did he need to - the numbers speak for themselves.
"As of this morning, 500 million people all around the world are actively using Facebook to stay connected with their friends and the people around them," Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post. "This is an important milestone for all of you who have helped spread Facebook around the world. Now a lot more people have the opportunity to stay connected with the people they care about."
To celebrate the occasion, Zuckerberg and company launched a new app called "Facebook Stories" so you can tell the other half billion members what brought you into the social networking scene and what you use Facebook for.
Not hokey enough for you? Not to worry, the Facebook team also assembled a photo album filled with their messages of thanks. Maybe at the one billion members mark the company will spring for a celebratory video.
With the announcement that Netflix is bringing its streaming TV and movie service north of the border, our Canadian brethren have one less thing to complain about.
"Canadian Netflix members will be able to instantly watch a broad array of movies and TV episodes right on their TVs via a range of consumer electronics devices capable of streaming from Netflix, as well as watching on PCs and Macs," Netflix announced today.
At launch, the service will be available in English only, but there are plans to add French language capability sometime down the line.
Twitter is reportedly floating the idea of starting a service that would offer to make you a "Promoted Tweeter" for a fee. This could conceivably lead to a massive increase in followers. It would be quite the turnaround for the site, which has traditionally discouraged third-party services that promise to increase follower counts.
Twitter began gracing some high profile accounts last year with a spot on their suggested users list. Those that found themselves on the list gained up to 1 million followers. It's not clear how Twitter would promote users that buy into their Promoted Tweeter feature. Would they just show up at the top of search results, or are we looking at a sale of a spot on a new suggested users list?
Just having the most followers may not be worth the cost. Unless Twitter can target certain groups of users, the impact will be lessened. It's best to have a smaller audience of people that care about what you say, than a larger audience of people that just filter you out. Do you think users would see a benefit from a promotion service run by twitter?
It doesn't take a survey to prove that Facebook is popular, but if we're to put a testosterone-filled slant on the study released this week by Oxygen Media, the social networking site might be a great way to meet women.
Oxygen Media studied the habits of 1,605 adults using social media between May and June of this year, asking them several questions in the process. In doing so, the study's authors found that 21 percent of women between the age of 18-34 check Facebook in the middle of the night. Here's where things get interesting.
Again focusing just on the women, 39 percent classified themselves as Facebook addicts, while 57 percent said they talk to people online more than in person. Some other stats to slant however you see fit:
42 percent have no problem posting pics of themselves intoxicated
79 percent don't take to issue to kissing in photos
50 percent are open to being Facebook friends with complete strangers
Make of those numbers what you will, knowing that if you strike out with a complete stranger, the next one you hit up is likely to add you as a friend. Play your cards right and she'll eventually post a pic of you two swapping spit while intoxicated.
Apps, apps, apps. All we talk about is apps, it seems. Week and week out, I try to throw out a list of five different applications--usually themed around some particular scenario--that give you untold access to your system in new and exciting ways. Well, mostly exciting. Let's face it. Sometimes, an app is just an app. It's a useful, free utility, but nothing to throw a party or write home about.
So, that in mind, how about some games?
There's nothing more fun--and more detrimental to one's professional life--than sinking hours after countless hours of playtime into a persistent digital world. That's right, I'm talking about MMOs. The problem, however, is that there are simply too many free MMOs to choose from. If you're intending on spending a significant amount of your personal life in some digital dungeon or what-have-you, you don't want to do it for a crappy game that nobody is playing. You want an awesome game.
I have taken it upon myself to find five free MMOs with such a characteristic--awesome--and am happy to announce the results of my findings below. I wish you the best as you go forth in the grand tradition of surrendering your social life to slay digital... well, everything. Digital everythings. Right.
Security is important, yo. While a lot of sites on the ol' World Wide Web might support HTTPS connections, that doesn't mean that typing www.sitename.com into your browser will always pull up an encrypted connection between you and your final location. But don't take my word for it. Quoth the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
"Many sites on the web offer some limited support for encryption over HTTPS, but make it difficult to use. For instance, they may default to unencrypted HTTP, or fill encrypted pages with links that go back to the unencrypted site."
So how, then, do we address this problem? Step one is staring at the little lock icon within your browser. If the lock ain't locked, then you're not rocking a secure connection. Easy as that.
The American Dream, which calls for a wife, 2.5 kids, and a white picket fence, never took into consideration the mounting cost of Xbox Live Gold memberships for the entire family, which adds up rather quickly. To help address this, come November Microsoft will begin selling Xbox Live Gold Family Packs for $100, which will offer up to four individual Gold memberships for the price of two.
More than just four Live Gold accounts, the Family Pack also opens up a few additional perks, including a new Family Center accessible through the Xbox dashboard. As Microsoft explains it, you can expect easier family management, access to activity monitoring reports, and the ability to purchase and give away Microsoft Points to little Johnny rather than pay him an allowance.
There will also be exclusive family content and discounts, though Microsoft didn't outline exactly what these would entail. For more info, check out the full press release here.