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Facebook Beefs Up Its New York PR Staff With a Former Journo

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In what looks like the logical extension of its recent lobbying efforts in Washington, Facebook is ramping up its PR staff in both New York and California. Influencing politicians? Check! Influencing the media? Give us a minute.

Like its “dream lobbying team” in DC, Facebooks’s new PR hires have a strong background in politics. Sarah Feinberg, a former assistant to President Obama, joined its communications team in Palo Alto where her new boss is none other than Clinton-era White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart. But it looks like Facebook is also looking at the media itself as a potential PR talent pool–Mr. Lockhart worked for NBC in Washington. And Facebook’s newest hire is Jennifer Yuille, who will be based in New York–a former producer for MSNBC and CNN. She left her gig as a producer for Katie Couric at the CBS Evening News last year to join Silicon Valley start-up Polyvore.

All Facebook says, “As the company continues to grow and it faces the usual pressures from competitors, regulators, politicians, and the like, Facebook will need professionals schooled in crisis communications and rapid response to react to a 24/7 news cycle.” But we think there might be another motivating factor. Read More

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Welcome to the Latest Techie Status Symbol: Your Number of Google+ Followers

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The most successful social networks play on mankind’s tendency toward competition and vanity. Hence coveting thy neighbor’s number of Twitter followers, Foursquare badges, and Facebook friends. But Larry and Sergey didn’t even have to bake gamification elements into Google+. Somebody did that for them.

Thanks to Google+ Statistics creator Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, Google’s attempt to best Facebook now has its own leaderboard ranking Google+ users by their number of followers. Unfortunately even on the anti-Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg easily took the top spot. “He has the most friends in the world, they made a movie about him, and he is more handsome than the Larry and Sergey,” Mr. van Zanten told TechCrunch.

With Google+ still in beta, the leaderboard is skewed towards early-adopters and therefore very tech scene-centric. Read More

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New Yorker Sees 8% Growth in Likes After Facebook Fan Whoring Experiment

Used to be cool.

We are sad for you, New Yorker. Recall: The magazine released to the free internet an essay by Jonathan Franzen on the condition readers “like” its Facebook page. Simon Owens had the presence of mind to check how many “likes” the brand had before and after the stunt and noticed a gain of 16,000. These fans are worth anywhere from $3.60 to $136.38, Mr. Owens writes; we’d argue for the more conservative lower limit of $0.00. Read More