CRUSH: Facebook Nation

It's the return of CRUSH! After taking a short summer hiatus, we're back in action, crushing the week's social media news into a juicy 3 minutes or less. And this week we're even giving you a special behind-the-scenes look into Crush Studios, so don't forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The newest and third-largest nation in the world - Facebook Nation - is having trouble getting its currency off the ground. Facebook's announcement that Facebook credits will soon be the sole currency for all apps and games, has some of its 500,000 million citizens (i.e. developers) putting up a fight.

But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg better start focusing on national security because other forces are preparing to attack. A web designer has filed a lawsuit against the social networking site claiming that, based on a contract entered in 2003 with Zuckerberg, he is entitled to 84% of Facebook, or $12.6 billion. And a Judge in New York has ruled to freeze the social networking site's assets until the case is resolved.

So Mr. Zuckerberg, how would you like to pay for that? Cash, credit, check or...Facebook credits?

In this week's quick hits:

  • Ebay has it's own legal woes, facing a copyright infringement lawsuit over PayPal technology that could cost them almost $4 billion.
  • Tweet Deck surpassed 15 million downloads this week, meaning that apparently more than 15 million people have yet to hear of Hootsuite.
  • And just when you thought Chatroulette couldn't get any creepier...it has now added a local feature, so you can now tell just how close that person (or body part) really is.

And in world news, China's online population has skyrocketed to "420 million as more people access the Internet with cell phones." The Communist government has renewed Google's operating license, ending the months-long stalemate over Internet censorship and providing momentum for rights groups, such as Human Rights First, in their effort to create an open Internet behind the Great Chinese Firewall.

And that brings us to our "Crush of the Week" where we would like to recognize the brilliant folks over at Old Spice for their new, creative social media marketing campaign that is both entertaining and effective.

 

Make A Father's Day Declaration

I invite you to join me in making the following declaration:

I declare here and now I believe in respect. I am a person ready to take a stand against relationship violence and abuse. I want all to know this symbolizes my commitment to solve problems through conversation, not confrontation. Together we can teach others to lift their hands in embrace, not in anger. We can show compassion equals strength, and by doing so, help shape a world free of relationship violence.

To declare it, go here.

After you declare it, share it.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund is on a mission to create a future of healthy relationships. And as such, they are asking people to Give RESPECT!, and make a declaration.

So far, mostly women have signed. Women should sign, and I'm asking the men to step up. Relationship violence is a problem that lives in the shadows. To end it, we must bring it into the light and talk about it. You can help by making the declaration, and sending it on.

And to the women reading this, please sign the declaration too and send it to the men you know, and ask them to make a stand.

After all, what is it to be a man?

It's not measured by the size of your wallet, but by the size of your heart.
It's not determined by the strength of your muscles, but by the strength of your courage.
It's not judged by how tall you stand, but by what you stand up for.

And this Father's Day, it's time to man up.

 

 

CRUSH: Facebook Unfiltered

CRUSH Roadtrip 2010 has been officially underway and this week we break down Facebook like you've never seen it before - giving you not only the latest from the news desk, but also what people on the street have to say.

While a handful of Senators spoke out against Facebook's new automatic opt-in privacy policy, this week the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a formal Federal Trade Commission complaint against the social media network - requesting that the FTC "investigate Facebook, enjoin its unfair and deceptive business practices, and require Facebook to protect the privacy of Facebook users."

However, Facebook was preoccupied attending to a more pressing privacy issue. The chat feature suffered a major technology glitch, causing some users private chats and friend requests to be exposed to the entirety of their friends list.

Which brings us to our prediction that Facebook will be upgrading this chat feature in the coming months. Especially since Russian investor DST, who bought the instant messaging relic ICQ from AOL, has increased its stake in Facebook from 2% to 10%. Giving DST more power in the decision making process and the chance to put its newest purchase into something useful.

Sadly, the future doesn't look bright for all of social media. Digg is the most recent social media company to announce layoffs, sending an email to employees informing them that 10% of the workforce would be let go. And this comes on the heels of Ning announcing it would be cutting its workforce by 40% and removing all free services.

And what do the people have to say about all of this? Well, we take a stop at Denver, Colorado and get some interesting opinions from three individuals who actually don't have a Facebook account, a very rare breed in this day and age.

We almost had the chance to ask Rod Blagojevich, former governor of Illinois, what his thoughts were on the subject when we spotted him in the car next to us...unfortunately he drove away too soon.

But the best part of our Roadtrip so far has got to be this week's CRUSH of the Week, where we got to meet up with the creator of Captain Planet. This was only stop one, so be sure to stay tuned for more in the upcoming weeks and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to find out if we're coming to a city near you!

 

5 Senators Who Need to Get in the Climate Legislation Game

It isn't rare to hear about 'back benches' in Congress. Generally these are members who, on one issue, or on all issues, don't make much noise, go with the flow, and try to avoid controversy. In sports, the term "bench warmer" is similar, but rather than a lack of desire to play, bench warmers tend to have a relative lack of skill. In fact, if a member of a sports team wanted to sit out the big plays, I doubt they would be on the team for long. . .

The game today is comprehensive climate change legislation, and there are five Senators that talk some game in the locker room, but when the clock is running, you can't find them on the field.

Senator LeMieux was substituted onto the Florida team:

"There might have been a time where the jury was out [on climate change], but the jury is in now, and we know this is an issue. We can't afford to ignore it and be wrong."

With BP dumping oil all over his home turf, you'd think LeMieux would be itching for some action on clean energy. Where is he?

Senator Pryor is no stranger to fans of Alabama. Not only has been on the team since 2003, but he plays the position his father played in the 80's and 90's.

"As part of [the effort to move our country toward energy independence], I believe that we must move beyond oil, gas, and coal and focus on cleaner alternatives and new sources of energy, including renewable fuels. Arkansas, in particular, is rich in bio diesel resources...As your Senator I will fight to help Arkansas become a leader in the new energy economy."

If Senator Pryor wants his kids to be able to continue the legacy, he better get on the field and show some hustle.

Senator Voinovich has played most of the positions on the Ohio team. He has been in the game as long as anyone, and this is his final season. He should be thinking legacy, and he has one major rivalry left unsettled.

"Climate change, and how our nation addresses it, is of incredible importance."

C'mon Senator! Are you going to let the rookies address it? Git R Done!

Arguably one of the best players in the National League, Senator Lugar had carried Indiana to victory again and again. He is one of the defense players out there.

"Scientists are saying that climate change could cause human displacement, spark wars around the globe and completely disrupt international trade...We do have an obligation to our children, our grandchildren, the earth to think about these things."

Lugar has been in the game longer than any Republican in the Senate. It isn't like him to get benched when it matters.

And finally there is New Hampshire's Senator Gregg who is also throwing in the towel at the end of the season.

"we have a responsibility to take care of our planet for future generations, and climate change legislation will help stem the environmental impacts of global warming and will spur development of new technologies that bolster our energy independence."

Gregg's legacy is his to shape now. Is he a man made of granite that can do what is best for the Granite State? Or has he grown soft, and resigned to phoning it in for the last few games of his career?

One this is certain, this season is shaping up to be one for the history books. Any of these players can make history - but they can't do it from the benches.

 

 

Word to your Mother

 "Respect" is the word.

This Mother's Day, you have the opportunity to give a precious gift to your mother. You can give her respect. Sign the pledge and give respect today. Join others in taking a stand to show compassion and support for a respectful world. Declare your belief in respect now.

Send an e-card to your mom this mother's day to send your respect and thank her for being a positive role model throughout your life.

The Give RESPECT! campaign promotes healthy relationships nationwide through respect education and positive role modeling. The RESPECT! Campaign works to raise awareness of the critical roles that parents, teachers and other role models play in the shaping of young people's lives. With these efforts, the campaign hopes to create a world that is free of relationship violence.

Valero - because Enron is SO ten years ago

Valero, the Texas-based oil giant, continues to prove one thing: oil is dirty. The latest evidence spewing from its smoke stacks? Behind closed doors, Valero's company practices are just as dirty and threatening as the smoggy skies and health concerns courtesy of its fossil fuel emissions. While the company has been cited as one of the nation's top polluters, its CEO William Klesse was recently named to CNBC Mad Money's 'Wall of Shame', making it all the more obvious that this apple doesn't fall far from the tree. But as if that wasn't bad enough, the company then rewarded Klesse with a "64 percent raise" making his pay check a heafty $10.9 million a year.

Valero also reported a "27 percent increase in retail profit for the first quarter of 2010". But don't expect the company to use that revenue to clean up its act. Instead, it will continue to dirty our environment, pumping the extra green into funding the initiative to suspend, (aka kill), AB 32, the state's clean energy law.

This out of state oil giant doesn't have California's best interest in mind, instead its goal has been to buy your signature in order to secure our dependence on fossil fuels. This week, it appears to have succeeded in getting this misguided proposition on the ballot. It has done so by duping Californians into thinking that killing AB32 will somehow contribute to the economic health of California.

The fact is, killing AB 32 will "kill hundreds of thousands of jobs and chill billions of dollars of new green investment in California" and benefit no one but these dirty energy companies and their slimy special interests. It reminds me a time, just under ten years ago, when another Texas-based energy company, swindled the people of California. Enron took the state for billions, and what Valero, Tesoro, and other Lone Star state interests are doing now, is a play from the same book.

Everything may be "bigger in Texas" but let's show Valero how it's done in California. With AB 32 our state can emerge as a national leader in both environmental protection and economic growth. We are the Golden State and let's make sure we don't let a little dirt cover up our chance for a healthy and shining future.

A Mother's Day Present That Gives Back

 

It happens about this time every year. Suddenly you realize Mother's Day is just around the corner, and you have no idea what to get for dear old Mom. Well this year the Marion Institute is offering a unique alternative to the same old greeting card and flowers. Their Mastate Charitable Foundation is currently running a campaign for Mother's Day that not only gives you a great gift idea, but helps others as well.

Mastatal is a small community in rural Costa Rica about two and a half hours from San José, and the Mastate Charitable Foundation for has been working to improve the living conditions there for the past four years. Their most recent endeavor is to build a Community Learning and Sharing Center (CLSC), which aims to serve as a social center in the town, as well as a library and meeting place. That's where you come in.

The CLSC building in Mastatal will be naturally built using local labor and resources. In honor of Mother's Day, The Mastate Charitable Foundation is selling daub bricks that will be used in the construction of this building that will help so many families. Each brick is $4, and you can buy one (or as many as you like) for the CLSC in honor of your mother for an original and unique gift idea. It takes 5,000 bricks to build the entire CLSC, and the Mastate Charitable Foundation hopes to sell as many as possible to try to reach their goal.

Perhaps buying your mom some daub bricks wasn't the first thing that came to your mind when you thought about Mother's Day presents, but the reality is that it's a thoughtful and different gift that most moms would appreciate. The mothers in Mastatal are trying to give their community and their children the best opportunities they possibly can, so why not give your mother a gift that helps other mothers as well?

For more information, follow the Mastate Charitable Foundation on Facebook.

 

CRUSH: The End of Anonymity

CRUSH - Bringing you the latest in social media news in four minutes or less. And in our own exciting news - we've gone HD, making our crushing capabilities that much clearer. Enjoy! Don't forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter, and get your daily crush at www.commonsensenms.com

Facebook took center stage this week with its annual developers conference, F8. What were the biggest announcements? Although Facebook founder Marc Zuckerberg displayed a dozen new tools and widgets, the most significant announcement to prepare for is the "open graph platform". Open Graph plans to connect all corners in the web in order to "create a Web that's smarter, more social, more personalized, and more semantically aware". As one element of this platform, website owners will have a chance to place a "Like" button on their pages, allowing Facebook to then publish whatever a user likes directly to their Facebook profile.

Of course the privacy police have already stated concern over the new development, and with good reason. When does sharing data on what we read, view, listen to, and interact with on the web become invasive as opposed to interactive? Stay tuned to CRUSH for latest in what is sure to be an upcoming battle over personalization versus privacy.

In honor of the recent celebration of Earth Day, we encourage you to fly on over to the "We Love Birds" community on Ning. Hosted by NRDC and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, "We Love Birds" is one of the best uses of Ning we've seen yet. View some of natures' finest yourself with the over 7,000 stunning photos.

While social media sites continue to innovate at a crushing speed, the honorable justices of the US Supreme Court seem to be experiencing technical difficulties. The divide between "the hip justices and hip-replacement judges" was made painfully clear during this week's court discussion over sexting and privacy rights. Embarrassing highlights from the case:

  • Chief Justice Roberts asks what the difference was between email and a pager
  • Justice Kennedy wondered what would happen if you were sent a text the same time you were sending one to someone else - "Does it say: 'Your call is important to us, and we will get back to you?"
  • Justice Scalia's confusion on service providers and concern of whether they can be shared by printing them - "You mean (the text) doesn't go right to me?"..."Could Quon print these spicy little conversations and send them to his buddies?"

In other online sex news, we would like to commend Apple's decision to trash nearly 6,000 sexually suggestive iPhone apps. Refreshing to see some leadership within corporate America, and hats off to Steve Jobs for refusing to chose profits over the objectification of women.

And that brings us to our CRUSH OF THE WEEK - Our story this week truly reveals the power of social media, as Mayor of East Haven Connecticut donated a kidney to a Facebook Friend, Carlos Sanchez, after seeing the status update Sanchez posted saying his friends and relatives had all been tested but were not a match. Making the Mayor a hero in our books, and Facebook her loyal sidekick.

5 Earth Day Actions You Can Take In 10 Minutes Flat

It's Earth Day and in addition to all of the other lists advising you to turn off the lights, get green power, and pay attention to what you are buying (all of which are very important) there are five more concrete things you need to do today, that can have a huge impact on the health of the planet. Best of all, they will take you about 10 minutes.

Let's begin.

1. Call Senator Harry Reid at 202-224-3542.

Senator Reid gets it. He said that clean energy and climate legislation 'may be the most important policy we ever pass.' He is going to be facing a TON of pressure to compromise, and accept half-measures. He needs to know that you have his back on passing a comprehensive bill to bolster clean energy and address climate change.

2. Join the Campaign to Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition.

California passed a bill back in 2006 that would bring its greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020. It is easily the most aggressive climate law in the country, and it could pave the way for other states and other nations to follow suit - BUT Valero, Tesoro, and other big oil interests are trying to pull an Enron and dupe the people of California into passing a proposition that would stop the whole thing.

Whether you are in California or not, sign up and lend a hand.

3. Join the Campaign to Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition on Facebook.

Yep, join them on Facebook too. I can't emphasize how critical this will be for the country. If California, the 8th largest economy in the world can get a handle on its emissions (not to mention reap the HUGE benefits that will come with the 2 million jobs and billion in investments that are already starting to show up there), it will show the rest of the world, that it can be done, and that doing it will make us all better-off.

4. Join the boycott of big oil companies who meddle in state politics.

Write Valero, an email, and let them know you will be boycotting them until they keep their dirty money out of state politics.

5. Share this blog on your Facebook and Twitter.

Lets face it, this stuff only works if we are aggressive about increasing the numbers of people who take actions like these. If you want to get credit yourself, I hereby give you permission to post this blog under your name.

Let's get serious about doing all we can for our planet now. Thanks for reading and thanks for getting in action!

Hey CA - Don't Get Fooled

The Dirty Energy Proposition (aka the California Jobs Initiative) blew by its self-imposed signature collection deadline last week. The campaign is working to gather the more than 400,000 signatures needed to get the proposal to kill California's landmark climate and clean energy law on the November ballot. Apparently their expectation that a good turnout at Tea Party rallies would result in tens of thousands of signatures to Suspend AB 32 was a bit optimistic. However, California's environment and economy aren't in the clear yet, as almost $1,000,000 in additional funding has been recently contributed to the proposal. So are throngs of Californians getting in action? Nope.

So which money trees did the new wads of green come from? In keeping with the campaign's MO, none other than top U.S. polluters and out-of-state interests. Of course looking at the newest contributor the Adam Smith Foundation, which donated a hefty $458,000, this isn't exactly obvious at first glance - but dig a little deeper and it becomes clear that the group fits in perfectly with its dirty oil counterparts.

Out-of-state? Check. The Adam Smith Foundation is a non-profit group based in Jefferson City, Mo., keeping in line with Texas based oil contributors Valero and Tesoro.

Suspicious motives? Check. While the group calls itself "an advocacy organization committed to promoting conservative principles and individual liberties in Missouri" and "created to defend judicial reform, government accountability, education reform, tax and spending reform and protecting private property", the reality is that it acts "as a corporate non-profit front group...with ties to stalwart Republican operatives with a history political thuggery and malfeasance". Hmm, kind of like how Valero claims "environmental stewardship is a core value" for the company, yet is ranked 12th on The Political Economy Research Institute's "100 worst air polluters" in the U.S. (Tesoro came in right behind at number 30).

Perhaps the suspension group's new plan of attack in using non-profits as a puppet to mask the original source of funds is an attempt to avoid any more boycotts like the one Californians have launched against Valero. But Californian's can't be played so easily, and this ploy does little to mask the real interests tugging at the puppet strings. Especially when the other major donors to the committee "include Occidental Petroleum ($300,000), Tesoro Companies ($200,000), World Oil Corp. ($100,000)" and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association ($100,000).

The underlining question here is how exactly did the fight to kill a piece of California legislation become a top priority for so many? Oil companies and out-of-state special interests fear that clean energy would decrease our dependence on their dirty fossil fuels, thus cutting into their profits and challenging the need for their industry. They know that the reports of further investment, job growth and increasing prosperity that AB 32 promises, chips away at the stranglehold they have us in.

That's one thing this manipulating campaign has right - that AB 32 will jump start a green economy that will threaten dirty energy interests. AB 32 has led businesses to put a new emphasis on environmental concerns, and in turn driven a strong job growth in the green sector. This is highlighted in The California Workforce Association Conference recent study "California's Green Economy", revealing the increased focus on green products and services and how manufacturing and construction industries are actually leading with the most green jobs. However, suspending AB 32 would halt this transition towards a cleaner and greener California.

As the final weeks of signature collecting get underway - spread the word about the Dirty Energy Proposition. After all, the last time out-of-state Energy interests claimed to have Californians' best interests at heart, we got rolling blackouts, courtesy of Enron. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice . . .

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