How to Monetize Your Twitter Feed; Recession Psychology
BY Nitasha Tiku
Someone monetized their Twitter feed. Finally. Brooklyn Museum launched a new members only program called 1stfans. For $20 a year, you get a "socially networked museum membership" that connects you with other 1stfans through a protected Twitter and access to a private Facebook, and Flickr groups. Brooklyn-based digital agency Big Spaceship notes that while it may be more difficult for brands, as opposed to cultural institutions, to get people used to the idea of paying for exclusive content, Zappos and Dell have already benefited from their presence on Twitter. But while museums may get people to pay for a protected Twitter, "Those folks are going to expect a Twitter feed worthy of that fee." One Think reader suggests Q&A sessions with artists via Twitter and integrating their Twitter stream into an exhibit.
Brace yourself for January's job losses. The US economy shed 598,000 jobs last month, according to the New York Times. It's the biggest drop since the start of the recession and worse than forecasters were predicting. The downturn has cost 3.6 million jobs so far. Mark Zandi, the chief economist for Moody's Economy.com, concluded, "Businesses are panicked and fighting for survival and slashing their payrolls," sending the economy into a downward spiral that only aggressive action by policy makers can solve. For more on the proposed stimulus package, see Inc.'s guide to the Obama administration.
Ladies First.The Times also reports that women may surpass men as the majority in the workforce. While 82 percent of job loss has struck men, the proportion of women working has only minimally changed since the recession began. It helps that many women are employed in health care and education, which have been somewhat shielded from deep cuts that have befallen other sectors this year. Still, women earn 80 cents for each dollar that men make and often times they're employed in part-time positions often without benefits, according to the article.
Shady website showcases recessionary desperation. Slate's Big Money delves into a publicity stunt from Bailoutbooth.com. Tuesday morning a man calling himself "Bailout Bill" set up a booth in Times Square and started giving away serious cash—up to $1,000. The only string attached: you had to confess to Bailout Bill why you needed the money. Hundreds of people lined up, even more flocked to the site. As it turns out, the whole thing was a marketing stunt for a new video classified ad venture from a company with no Google trail. But Slate took the opportunity to display the thousands of pleading messages from the site asking for cash as a word cloud to give readers "a neat glimpse into a recession's psychology."
Plenty of problems for paid dating sites. Free sites like PlentyofFish and OKCupid are challenging subscription sites like Match.com and eHarmony, according to a report by Business Week. These days, no one wants to shell out as much as $60 for a membership, but they do still want to date. So free sites are rapidly gaining market share. For more on PlentyofFish's founder Markus Frind, see Max Chafkin's recent article and more on Inc.com.
Charlie Rose interviews Nvidia CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang. Nvidia is the world's largest producer of graphic chips. Rose talks to Huang about how visual computing is revolutionizing things like smartphones to medical scanning equipment. Rose also recently sat down with Shep Fairey, a "a buzz guru" long before Obama decided to run for president. Read Rob Walker's interview with Fairey on marketing that straddles the world of street art and commerce.
Will "Buy American" backfire for small business? The WSJ discusses whether or not the "Buy American" provision in the stimulus plan would help or hurt small business. The National Small Business Association says it will actually cause more harm than good. A backlash from foreign countries upset at the provision could cause them to pull back on exporting from small businesses. "If you look at 2008, the one bright sport in the economy has been exporting," NSBA president told the Journal.
The tricycle of the future? Inc.'s sister mag Fast Company takes a look at the Aptera 2e, a tear-drop shaped electric three-wheeler that can go 90 miles per hour and has a range of 100 miles. The startup says that production will start in October at a price between $25,000 and $40,000. It looks cool, but, Fast Company warns, it may impractical: "But the Aptera 2e is really something of an oddity. It's too small to be a family car because it only seats two people. And with a range that limits it to short commutes rather than long-distance runs--100 miles between recharges--it won't get you very far."
Even Crispin is cutting. AdAge's 2008 agency of the year, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, just announced that its cutting 6 percent of its 900-person staff, a total of 60 employees. The shop grew 15 percent last year to $140 million and handles advertising for the likes of Coca-cola, Microsoft, and Burger King. Ad Age calls it a "barometer for the economy's impact on the agency business." We named Chuck Porter one of our 26 most fascinating entrepreneurs for his tendency to verge on recklessness.
Not so fast with the doom-and-gloom about declining small business loans. Entrepreneur magazine says forget big banks, try your regional bank. One SBA lender's CEO Chris Hurn even predicts, "We're entering an era when specialized institutions and community banks are the go-to source for small business." He and other CEOs profiled are betting on entrepreneurs to lead the country out of the recession, and they plan to benefit by attracting their business now. For more, see Inc.'s article on tapping community banks.
Reporter NITASHA TIKU covers technology, finance, green business, and social entrepreneurship for Inc. magazine and contributes to the staff’s daily links blog. Her work has appeared in New York magazine, The Villager, Chelsea Now, and on nymag.com. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. @nitashatiku