Brit Is World’s Fastest Texter. Or. Get Ready to Feel Old and Slow.

I’m not sure whether or not this PR stunt was planned, but it seems a young woman in the UK is soon to be dubbed the world’s fastest texter and the people at Samsung have been quick to muster around their SWYPE keypad.

An impromptu challenge while shopping with her boyfriend near Manchester, UK had 27-year old Melissa Thompson text:

“the razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human”

Try it. You’ll soon feel like a neanderthal trying to text using a tomato. Ms. Thompson did it in just 25.94 seconds.

Europe trails only Asia in SMS usage and the US isn’t far behind. We’re talking billions of messages sent each month which is why Brits may knock out the rest of the competition. And the growth of mobile in the hands of parents and grandparents will only underline the need for easier, (read: arthritic-free) texting solutions. SWYPE may be onto something.

Will SWYPE kill QWERTY? Will consumers soon groan at having to pick up their fingers while typing the way we  criticize multi-touch keypads? Pressing a keypad three times to yield a single letter? I mean, REALLY.

Full story here.


What’s A Little Regulation?

The recent hullaballoo in the UAE over the imminent ban on Blackberry service come October has ruffled feathers on both sides of the Atlantic. But what about the little guy?

I work for a company with offices worldwide and I can’t help but wonder what this means for other businesses – big and small – who so happen to have honest, hard-working, red-eye flying individuals who live and breathe by their BlackBerries.

Reports are early and it’s much too late in the evening to draw a firm conclusion, but I can’t help but think about the innocent men and women out there who will have to bear a hardship (yes, for some of us busy folk, going without a Blackberry is considered a hardship) and what kind of impact that will have on their work, even their families.

What kind of an impact will this have on Blackberry? And where’s iPhone?

Full story at the drop:

Are You Participating In Foursquare Day on April 16?

This Friday (April 16), more than 100 cities around the globe will participate in Foursquare Day, a day where “mayors” will surely be un-seated, unique badges awarded and swarms of iPhone-clad digiratis will flock to public places and do only God knows what.

From PC World: “Check-in at more places, and at the same place more frequently, than other users to generate the highest amount of points in your area and earn special badges for specific kinds of check-ins. For example, a user who checks into 20 different pizza places can earn the coveted “Pizzaiolo” badge, or the “Swarm” badge for checking into a Foursquare venue with at least 50 other users.”

Will you participate? C’mon. You know you want that “Pizzialo” badge. Although, college frats may have dibs on that. Also, what LA? not participating? #shockedbummedsad

For the working bit, check out the nifty list of participating businesses and sponsors:
Smart People List #1
Smart People List #2

Full piece here.

#Olympics Use Social Media To Connect Crews, Athletes and Fans

Whether you’re an athlete, fan or one of the thousands of crew in Vancouver, chances are you’re using social media to stay connected during these Olympic Games.

Thanks to Samsung and their clever WOW service, everyone will be connected via the mobile network – preferably via the new Samsung Mythic and track everything from medal counts to snow storms.

NBC’s Web site offers a slick portal to track just about anything Olympian with widgets, RSS, socnets, blogs and more including their slick “Olympic Pulse” Tweet Sheet which offers a real-time stream right from the athletes. Now may be your chance to find out what Shaun White eats for breakfast. Victory Wheaties?

For everything else, track Olympics on Twitter using @Olympics or hashtags #olympics and #vancouver.

Find Out What the World is Buzzing About via Twitter Location App

It’s Friday and raining in Los Angeles. Therefore, the entire city shut down and collective intelligence dwindled to only comprehending catchy phrases and pretty colors.

No better time than to discuss one of my new obsessions – Twitter’s Location Trending app. The app lets you quickly see the top ten or so trending topics, based by location. London. Seattle. New York City. Or via countries like the UK, Brazil and Mexico – even worldwide.

Sure. It’s got a ways to go (looks like only Western countries/cities at the moment) but a nifty tool considering it lets you get tap HIVEMINDS around the world in just a few clicks.

A quick glance today show’s most folks have gone mad for iPad and John Terry while other, but other intriguing topics are trending, depending on market including Juarez (Mexico), Friedrich Nietzche (Sao Paolo) and Black History Month (Los Angeles). Then there’s the adoption of weird conversations across different markets. #hospitalsongs. WTF?

Some may intrigue, while others may bring a smile. Either way, get into the habit of using this free tool to get a bead on trending topics in your core markets. Don’t be afraid to go beyond your own borders too. News doesn’t always start in your own backyard.

Virgin America Saves Endangered Pups. Or, I Heart Richard Branson Part Deux

My love for Sir Ricky B continues…

I’m a huge fan of Virgin America and their latest animal-rescue program, Operation Chihuahua.

They’ve brilliantly partnered with local and national animal rescue organizations like the ASPCA to help safely fly pups from California to their new homes on the East Coast, including NYC.

For us PR/MarComs, the jokes always been to try to include babies or puppies. It’s nice to see a PR program doing so in a completely authentic way.

I’m a cat person, but I can’t deny checking every Facebook update about “Maximus,” a lil’ guy who just arrived in NYC. I may have had a tear in the eye when VA posted a video of “Maximus” on his flight as a thank you.

VA have a top-notch social networking team, brilliantly leveraging FB and Twitter to promote the program beyond just pet enthusiasts. Their page launched last year and they’ve already garnered 50,000 loyal fans. Keep in mind this is completely different from Virgin Atlantic enthusiasts.

Americans typically travel more so domestically than internationally and it’s a rarity when we’re able to feel we’re getting a flight of passport quality. Jet Blue used to deliver warm and fuzzy back in the 2000’s, but with the economy and embarrassing cut backs in the entire flight experience, many of us can’t name an airline we don’t hate, let along friend on Facebook. Virgin America is schooling the competition and other North American carriers better pay attention.

Social Media & Higher Education: 2

Browsing around Apple’s homepage, I stumbled upon this nice ditty about the University of Washington’s campus-wide Wi-Fi. On-campus Internet access isn’t new, but the stats attached to them (iPhone OS accounts for 90% of UofW’s Wi-Fi use) made me think more about social media and education.

If you’re looking for a hotbed of social media innovation, take a walk around your nearest college or university. Buzz about in the student union and if you’re brave enough, try to chat up a few students about their likes/dislikes. You may hear words like free, on-demand, mobile-friendly and multi-lingual mentioned. Aside from them being your current or future consumer, they are part of the future global workforce which frankly demand Web ubiquity.

Share some Cheetos, take some notes and consider leveraging this during your next pitch or Shareholders do. Targeting college/young entrepreneurs? Hiring? Re-inventing your brand? You might not find another plugged-in group that will work for a few bucks — or free Starbucks.

You WILL feel old, but not in the boardroom.