Whales Spend Money on Social Gaming

In the social gaming world, a “whale” is someone who spends a lot of real money to purchase virtual goods. We already know just how quick many people are to hand over their credit cards in the quest for goods on their favorite games. It was interesting to learn just how much people are spending.

Less than ten percent of all social gamers ever spend a single penny while farming their crops or completing tasks for the mob bosses. Whales are the group of users who spend a minimum of $1000 on such frivolities. InsideSocialGames asked social payment platform Social Gold just how much people are spending. The results shocked me.

The top five social spenders are a sight to behold. The top spender comes from Saudi Arabia, and has handed over more than $25,000.00! The second and fourth place spenders hail from here in the United States. Those two people have shelled out just over $33k between them. That is more money than many people in this country even make in an entire year… money that’s literally just being thrown away. What makes these numbers even more shocking is not that they were spent on intangible things in a virtual world. What’s astounding is that these figures were compiled after only six months of tracking. That cash was blown in only half of one year.

“The same features of social games that are designed to nudge non-spenders into shelling out a few dollars will also inevitably encourage people with large bank accounts to pour ever more money into their hobbies, even if social game companies don’t encourage extreme spending.”

Perhaps I just don’t “get it.” Maybe I’m too old-school in my thinking. I just honestly don’t understand the point of spending that kind of money to “buy” the hottest new item for a virtual world or character that I will never actually hold in my hands. I’m sorry… if I’m shelling out that kind of cold, hard cash – there better be something shiny and new sitting in my driveway to show for it.

World Cup 2010 Country Flag List

I happened to find this nifty little trick a few moments ago on Twitter. My eye caught a few tweets that went floating by on my screen that dealt with the World Cup. The tweets were in support of completely different countries and teams, but they had one important thing in common: they all carried a tiny little country flag embedded right in the tweet. I went on a quick search around the web to find out what was up, and then tried it out for myself.

Already today, there were reports of millions of tweets being sent out that had to do with the World Cup. People on Twitter want to discuss it and show their support. Twitter has decided to respond in kind with some fun support of their own. If you send out a message with one of the short country code hashtags in it (or even the official #worldcup hashtag), a little country flag will show up next to that hashtag once your tweet hits the web.

The popular micro-blogging site has also set up an official Twitter page to help you follow all of the World Cup action. The page will help keep you updated on the events and activities and provide you with links to other important sites around the web. “Using live widgets, real-time search, and Top Tweets (updates that are currently catching the attention of many Twitter users) we’ve put together a special site to capture the spirit of the World Cup and it’s already pulsing with activity. Fans have a unique opportunity to connect with players, teams, and brands using Twitter to join the matches in a new way. We also are providing a list of suggested accounts to follow during the tournament and a World Cup theme for your profile page.”

What country are you supporting during the World Cup?

Turn Yourself Into a Musician with Aviary

Aviary is as “happy as a lark” to introduce their new music service, which they have code-named Roc. You apparently don’t need to have any musical ability at all to create music and beats from scratch inside of your browser. You’ll be able to simulate fifty different instruments and sounds.

The instrument sounds available range from things such as drums, pianos and guitars to harps, flutes and a hammered dulcimer. You’ll have a simple point-and-click interface. You don’t need to understand anything about notes and scales in order to create beautiful works of art. The music creator is simple to use, yet boasts a lot of features, allowing more advanced users to mix and match any instruments – and even record your voice or upload your own custom sounds.

Best of all, you’ll be able to save your creations and download them as an MP3 right to your computer to share with the world.

You don’t have to be a musical – or any other type – expert in order to grab the latest software and apps from our software center.

Google Finds that Users Don't Like Change

We were one of the first to report the exciting news that Google would be allowing us to change our Google home page image. I was personally pretty happy with this change. Millions and millions of us use Google as our home page. What better way to customize our web experience than by having the images we choose staring us in the face with every tab we launch? Google went a step further yesterday, adding colorful images to the main home page for everyone to see. Apparently, some people just don’t like change, and Google has since taken the photos down.

You can still personalize your Google page, but you won’t see pretty pictures in place of the supremely BORING white page. People all over the world threw literal hissy fits about the background. They made it clear they don’t like change. It’s not as if they were stuck with that photo. All they had to do was remove the image, or change it to something of their choosing. Some went so far as to claim that it was a “privacy issue,” since they weren’t given a choice to opt in.

Excuse me? Seriously? If I own a website, I am free to change it any time I want. The same goes for you. A website owner has every right to change their layout, design and theme every day if that’s what floats their boat. Why, then, does anyone have the right to condemn Google for changing theirs up and giving it a much-needed facelift? The people who are stomping their feet and yelling don’t own Google. It is a website, much like the very ones they are whining on. So what if it happens to be the most widely-used site in the world? Does that automatically grant its users the right to claim they have a say in how it looks?

I think not.

Bring back the images, Google. You’ve brought your search into this decade. It’s time to let the look and feel behind it catch up.

Is Your Cell Phone Hurting Your Children?

Is your reliance on technology hurting your children? A new study shows that perhaps parents are too plugged in. The story cites a young mother who was ignoring her toddler in a busy shopping mall while she had her head buried in her cell phone’s screen. It goes on to discuss the negative impact that constant device usage can have on a child’s psyche and upbringing.

The study talks about the negative effects that a parent’s desire to always stay connected can have on children, yes. But it doesn’t touch on the dangers that could happen. It only takes a split second for someone to grab a child in a public place. Toddlers and babies are kidnapped in an instant while their parent or guardian looks away at an item on a store shelf. It isn’t inconceivable that the same thing could happen while mom is busy checking her Twitter stream or dad is reading the latest email from work. Children can be hit by a car, drown in a pool or run off without supervision in the blink of an eye. If a parent is engrossed in their phone for a few moments, bad things could potentially happen.

I’m not saying that you can never use your devices around your children. I’m saying that you need to stop tuning everything else out while you check up on things. I’m just as guilty as the next person of this infraction. I am quite good at tuning out the world around me whenever I feel I need to. Parents build up this ability as their children get older. It’s almost a survival instinct. You have to be able to filter out noise and distractions to get things done, right? But what if something tragic happens while you’re tuned out?

Photo credit to The Chef Alliance.