Headlines & Stuff November 5, 2012

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Don’t Forget About “#GivingTuesday”
Following the post-Thanksgiving shopping rituals of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a new celebration has been added to the roster – #GivingTuesday. This annual day of giving back to the community takes place on November 27. There is no one cause contributing to the effort. The goal: giving back together. Companies can join in and create an initiative in honor of the movement. It’s entirely up to the partner on what they choose to do.  For more information, visit the #GivingTuesday site here. Some companies participating this year include: Discover (offering a 2% match to all donations made to #GivingTuesday partners and offering to waive fees made to non-profits), Microsoft (donor matching initiative for Give For Youth),  LRN (sponsoring charitable giving activities for all employees).

Facebook Rolls Out Charitable Gifts
Facebook added a new feature to Gifts this week: the ability to make charitable contributions in honor of your friends and family. The program kicks off with 11 non-profit partners including the American Red Cross, the Boys and Girls Club of America and Livestrong. Each time you buy a charitable gift, you have the option of choosing a non-profit recipient or letting your friend choose.

Facebook Prompts Users to Share Halloween Memories
Facebook got into the trick or treat spirit this year by prompting users to share their various Halloween related information as part of their status updates. Instead of the usual “what’s on your mind?” prompt text in the status update bar, Facebook asked some users to share their favorite Halloween memories, talk about their best Halloween costumes or share their favorite scary movies.  This will likely be an ongoing feature around events and holidays in the future.

Facebook To Provide Free Wi-Fi In Exchange For Check-Ins
Facebook is testing a new service that allows local businesses to offer customers free Wi-Fi after checking in on the social network. When visitors check-in to a location on Facebook, they are redirected to the business’ Facebook page and can continue to browse the web for free. Page owners will be able to track how many new “likes” they receive from people who took advantage of this service. It is uncertain if Facebook will roll this feature out wide.

Google+ Hangouts Rolls Out New Features
Google announced this week that it is rolling out new features and updates to Hangouts. Among the new features is a new sidebar which touts key tools in one spot. The sidebar also includes frequently-used apps, but allows you to remove apps in the process. Google has also introduced colorful notifications to make it easier for users to get a sense of the message. Alerts are now highlighted in red, while actions are blue and announcements are grey.

Global Social Media

Twitter’s Global Reach Continues to Grow
Twitter began speaking Arabic in March, and now the social-media service has the sixth-most-popular website in Saudi Arabia. Twitter has become a virtual parliament in a country that has none. In Germany, Twitter is only No. 20, according to Alexa. Twitter lags two places behind geeky gadget site chip.de and seven spots behind xing.com. The reason is likely because of Twitter’s 140 character limit, which some think is discouraging to Germans (due to language barriers). Twitter also added 16 additional languages including Tamil, Bengali and Kannada –  three languages common in southern or eastern India, where Twitter is no. 10.

Latin America Social Media Growth
In 2000 only 8 million Latin Americans were active online. Today that number has ballooned to 129 million regular users – more than a 1000% increase, with almost 127 million of them logging into their social media accounts once a month. The number of users differs country by country, but the upward trend has been steady across the region, led by the Brazilians followed by Argentineans and Chileans. Facebook dominates the region with 114 million unique Latin American visitors per month, spending over a billion combined hours on status updates, wall posts and photo sharing. Twitter comes in second place with 27 million (Mexico and Brazil are the top countries by usage). Millions more are using Orkut, Slideshare, Tumblr, and LinkedIn as well.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Dunkin Donuts Seasonal Instagram Campaign
A new campaign for Dunkin’ Donuts uses Instagram and Twitter to promote its special Halloween offers and mobile payments capability in the U.S. The campaign urges fans to tweet Instagram photos of their Dunkin’ Donuts cup decked out in a creative Halloween costume, using the hashtag #DresseDD for the chance to win $100 Halloween-themed Dunkin’ Donuts gift card. The gift cards tie in neatly with the themed menu items, including the “Boston Scream Donut.” Using the Dunkin’ Donut App, customers can purchase items simply by tapping their mobile Dunkin’ Donuts Card and presenting the screen to be scanned. The app’s gift application allows people to send virtual gifts by text, email and Facebook Connect, which enables fast and easy gift giving over the holiday season.

EA Takes Madden Social
Now fans can play Madden 13 virtually anywhere. EA Sports has released Madden NFL 13 Social, a free-to-play title that fans can use across platforms for Facebook and iOS. This is the first time EA has offered a full game experience across mobile and Facebook. The game offers turn-based gaming, in which each player is on offense and plays until he or she scores points or turns the ball over. Defense is played automatically. The asynchronous play allows people to start a game on their iPad and move it to a computer for Facebook.